The [Monday] Papers
"Last December off-duty Chicago police officers reportedly attacked four businessmen in a bar, leaving one in need of reconstructive surgery and another with four broken ribs," John Conroy wrote in the Reader last month. "In February off-duty officer Anthony Abbate beat up a young female bartender who declined to serve him any more drinks. Both incidents were recorded by security cameras.
"Outgoing police superintendent Phil Cline said he was 'disgusted' by the assaults. He said what dismayed him wasn't just the beatings but also how the attackers were subsequently protected by the department. Commanders kept the offenders in the December incident on active duty for months, even after seeing the recording. In videotape of February's incident, Abbate can be seen repeatedly punching and kicking bartender Karolina Obrycka, yet he was only charged with a misdemeanor till the state's attorney's office brought more serious charges. A police captain ordered his men to harass the media who came to cover Abbate's first court hearing.
"'I won't tolerate any misconduct. If it comes to a criminal nature, we'll arrest you. If somebody tries to shield Officer Abbate, or any other officer accused of misconduct, then they're going to have to pay the consequences for it,' Cline said after that hearing. But this isn't anything Cline hasn't seen before.
"In 2003, when an officer Cline had worked with years earlier got into trouble, Cline and other high-ranking officers helped make the problem go away. That problem was caught by security cameras too. That victim wasn't beaten - he was shot dead. The full tape of the incident has never been shown publicly, and nobody's apologized to the victim's mother."
(You can see the video for yourself on the Reader's website.)
I'm revisiting this story today because of the Tribune's report on page 3 of the its metro section this morning:
"A Chicago police officer who shot and killed an unarmed man at an elevated train station in 2003 acknowledged late last year that the shooting was unjustified contradicting the opinion of department officials, according to sworn testimony he gave in a lawsuit related to the shooting."
As the Reader noted in its piece on April 20, "Officer Alvin Weems shot an unarmed man point-blank in view of CTA security cameras. Investigators recommended that he be fired. Phil Cline promoted him."
"For those of us somewhat sorry to see plain-speaking, up-from-the-streets Chicago Police Supt. Phil Cline get the bum's rush for departmental screw-ups that were completely out of his control - including his own mouth, sadly - there is reason to take heart.
"He might be back.
"I hear - murmured by a starched, in-the-know political pal whose identity, alas, must remain hidden behind the red velvet drapes - that friends of Cline's are lobbying for him to be thrown the plum job of heading up security for the 2016 Olympics, should Chicago get it.
"I'm all for that. Cline is only 57, with plenty of good years left in him. Why bring in some perfumed security analyst from France who'll have us all prisoners in our own city, squatting in the sun, our fingers laced behind our necks? A Chicago Olympics should be protected by a Chicago cop, and Phil Cline, for good and ill, is exactly that."
* Michael Sneed, April 3 (to be fair, before the Reader story, though Sneed has given no indication that she's read it - I mean, really - nor changed her mind ):
"I'm flummoxed. Why would Mayor Daley accept Police Supt. Phil Cline's resignation?
"Why did Daley decide to let Cline retire in the midst of the latest brouhaha over a handful of drunken off-duty cops, whose conduct was repugnant, shocking, unacceptable and punishable - but infinitesimal in comparison to the bigger Police Department picture?
"We just lost one of the very best."
"For more than a week, Obama has been calling out senators - not by name, but by implication - when he campaigns in their states. Until Saturday, he had pointed the finger only at Republican lawmakers.
"But on Saturday night he was to attend a private fundraiser in Connecticut, home state of Sen. Joseph Lieberman, the former Democratic nominee for vice president, who voted with Republicans on the withdrawal measure."
Of course, it could have been "15 votes."
- Tim Willette
Also Friday, the National Pizza Council announced it will stop production of its popular Slice Away Fat campaign. Begun in 2004, ads for the industry group claimed that eating pizza aids weight loss when combined with calorie cutting.
- Tim Willette
Editor's Note: Just don't tell me the Lose Weight With Leinie's campaign was a sham. That would really hurt.
And the last thing psychologists and advertisers want is a culture that promotes self-indulgence.
- Tim Willette
Inside Today's Reporter
* The Cub Factor: "Mount Lou is currently holding at yellow but watch out. Expect a West Coast bullpen tremor to jostle Lou into a lava-spitting expletive eruption. Look for volcanic activity during the middle of the Dodgers series to top out at 6.7 on the Piniella scale."
* Lighting Chicago's Olympic torch: "Angelo Torres, though nobody remembers how he got the job." And other suggestions from The Beachwood Olympic Affairs Desk.
* The BBC writes rock's obituary: Long live rock.
* "Behind Closed Doors/Charlie Rich. This is a great song, but let's face it: Everyone knows what goes on behind closed doors." And other commentary on one Friday night with the Beachwood jukebox.
The Beachwood Tip Line: Indulge yourself.
Posted on May 21, 2007
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