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Chicago cops posed with black suspect wearing deer antlers2015-05-28 13:40
Two former police officers in Chicago, Illinois posed more than a decade ago for a racially-charged photo with an African-American man lying on his stomach with deer antlers on his head.
In the shocking photo, Timothy McDermott and Jerome Finnigan held rifles over a man as though celebrating an animal capture. Both former officers are white and the suspect is black.
The photo, which was believed to have been taken between 1999 and 2003 at a Chicago police station, was published in the Chicago Sun-Times on Wednesday.
The Chicago police department had sought to keep the image out of the public eye, but a Cook County judge ruled in March that the photo can be published after the Sun-Times filed a lawsuit in court to unseal it.
"Appearing to treat an African-American man not as a human being but as a hunted animal is disgraceful and shocks the conscience," a Chicago police department review board said.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Tuesday sought to distance the city’s police department from the two disgraced ex-police officers.
"Let me be clear: That photo does not represent the values of the city of Chicago that we all share in common," Emanuel told reporters. "It doesn't represent the values of the police department."
Police were never able to identify the black suspect in the photo because he was never charged with a crime.
McDermott was not charged with any criminal wrongdoing, but was fired from the police department last year based on the photo. He has sued to reverse his dismal. In an internal affairs investigation, he described the incident as a youthful indiscretion.
Finnigan is serving a 12-year prison sentence for robbery and home invasion after pleading guilty in 2011.
The officers in the antler photo were part of a disgraced special unit that was accused of robbing drug dealers and other individuals of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The publication of the appalling photo comes as Chicago, like many other major cities across the US, is experiencing tense relations between police departments and the African-American community.