New York Daily News reporter and investigator Shaun King spends his days and nights uncovering and bringing to light instances of police brutality and acts of violence against people of color. Though each time, we think we have seen the worst that law enforcement has to give, King has yet again uncovered an act of violence and suppression of human rights to America’s police state – one so horrifying, it will make you rethink everything you thought you knew about justice and law enforcement.
Now, many conservatives like to refer to criminal cops as “bad apples,” as if they are a rare anomaly with no deeper reflections on police force in America as a whole. But we’d love to know what those same Republicans think when we relay this story of horrific crime, and the police department that helped the cops escape justice.
Way back in 2004, long before the Trayvon Martins and Michael Brown’s of the world brought our attention to the issue at-large, a 20-year-old black man was apprehended by Chicago police who sodomized the young man with a screwdriver as part of a full-body search.
Coprez Coffie was working as a security guard at a nearby hotel when officers apprehended the young man because they said that they believed he had been involved with a drug deal. Coffie was taken to a nearby alleyway where he was handcuffed and strip-searched. During the search, Officer Scott Korhonen sodomized Coffie with a screwdriver, causing internal injuries to the man.
Coffie reported the crime when he arrived at the police station, as well as informing his injuries at St. Mary of Nazareth Hospital where it was discovered that he was bleeding from his rectum.
Unlike so many who are forced to simply accept abuse by those in power, Coffie fought back, attempting to sue the man and the police force. During that time, Korhonen was allowed to continue working as an officer and received no discipline from the police force. During the investigation, irrefutable evidence was overturned which proved without a shadow of a doubt that Coffie had been sodomized by the officers.
The case went before a civil jury a full three years later where Korhonen and another officer present during the assault were found guilty of “unreasonable search.” The city of Chicago was then forced to pay Coffie a $4 million settlement as well as covering his extensive legal fees.
Despite all of this, neither officers were ever fired or punished in any way, and to this day, are still employed by the Chicago Police Department making very respectable salaries. Any other crime, any other profession, you would go to prison – but if you’re an officer, you are legally bulletproof.
Even if you think Black Lives Matter is a bunch of malarkey and think that cops are generally good, you should be able to look at this despicable case and see that in fact our police force needs a major overhaul. This disgusting behavior is allowed in police forces nationwide, and we must put a stop to it.