A former Chicago police detective is suing the Chicago Police Department to get his job back after being fired for posing in a racist photo, reported CBS News.
Former detective Timothy McDermott and fellow Chicago police officer Jerome Finnigan posed in a photo taken between 1999 and 2003. The photo shows the two officers holding rifles over an unidentified black man wearing antlers to give the impression they hunted and killed the black man.
It’s still unknown whether the unidentified man was in police custody or was a willing participant in the photo. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) discovered the photo during an investigation into an unrelated matter of police misconduct.
Last October, the Chicago Police Board found McDermott guilty of “bringing discredit on the department by taking part in the photo, disrespecting or maltreating a person on or off duty, and unlawful or unnecessary use of display of weapon.” McDermott was then fired from the department.
Because Finnigan and McDermott are white and the unnamed man is black, the photo carries heavy implications of racism.
Finnigan has a deeply tainted past. In 2011, he was convicted of leading a scheme consisting of crooked cops who stole money from drug dealers. When a fellow officer uncovered the scheme, Finnigan ordered a hit on the officer to prevent him from notifying the department. This investigation led to the photo’s discovery. Finnigan is now serving 12 years in prison on corruption charges.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel proclaimed his opposition to the prospect of McDermott getting his job back at the police department.
“As far as I’m concerned, to that officer: Good riddance,” said the mayor. “You don’t belong in the Police Department. Our whole idea of the Police Department (is that it) is there to serve and protect, and the values expressed in that photo are not the values of the people of the city of Chicago.”
Emanuel has been dealing lately with the accusations that he may have known about the alleged Chicago PD black site in Homan Square. There were many reports that Chicago police officers took suspects to this place and questioned and tortured detainees for several hours, even days.
When McDermott was asked about the photo in 2013, he told the department’s internal affairs division that he was still a new officer at the time and wanted to fit in.
The Chicago Police Department has been drowning in scandal for the past several years. That department needs a complete overhaul from top to bottom.