A Chicago police officer found himself in a potentially dangerous situation while trying to make a drug arrest on the city's West Side last week, resulting in the suspect's escape, according to the Chicago Tribune.
How it happened: Two officers witnessed a drug transaction at about 2:10 in the afternoon on March 20. When they tried to arrest the suspect, however, they drew the attention of bystanders.
According to Chicago PD spokesman Anthony Guglielmi, somehow a bundle of drugs ended up under the police car. So one officer went to grab the drugs, but while he was doing that, about 10 people surrounded the other officer, who was still with the suspect.
The group surrounding the officer "implied they had weapons" and behaved threateningly toward the officer. The officer reportedly called in over the radio saying he was surrounded by 10 people, one of whom "indicated that he would use a firearm against me." There was a gunshot fired nearby.
That left the officer with a choice: stand his ground and risk escalating the situation, or stand down. He chose the latter, and one of the people in the crowd pulled the suspect away and fled.
"It was a situation where (the officer) didn't want to escalate what could have been a very volatile situation with a group of people," Guglielmi said.
Was anyone arrested? Officers responding to the scene were too late to catch the suspect, but they took four men into custody after a brief chase. However, none of them was charged with a crime
What does this say about law enforcement in Chicago? Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass wrote that "The street is officially no longer afraid of the Chicago police," and that the police don't have the proper support from politicians and media. From his column:
If the cops had fired their weapons, news media would have been all over them, metaphorically skinning them alive. Politicians would have demanded their heads. Democratic presidential candidates, and the two campaigning for mayor, would have held repeated news conferences.
But this? Nothing.