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Sun Jun 14, 2020, 10:48 AM

Blast from the Past, an old article by Mike Royko, NIGHT ENCOUNTER WITH CITY'S FINEST IS WORST KIND


https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-xpm-1997-02-21-9702210106-story.html

Feb 1997


While it was humiliating, painful and shocking, the experience of Richard Velazquez is a good thing.

Before I get into why it was good, let's deal with his experience.

On Tuesday night, Velazquez and a friend were in his car, near Sheridan Road and Loyola Avenue, about to go somewhere to give a lift to another friend.

When they got in the car, Velazquez tried to use the CD player, but it was jammed.

So he began trying to get it unjammed. While he was doing this a squad car pulled up and one of the two cops shone a flashlight in the window and asked what he was doing.

"Right away, I knew what he'd think," says Velazquez. "That we were a couple of Hispanic guys stealing something. So I told him, `Don't worry, relax, it's my car.'

"I kept saying things like that. And he said: `You relax, or do you want my foot up your ass?'

"So I got out of the car and started to take out my ID. Then he slammed me against the car."

Velazquez isn't sure what angered the cop. But he was suddenly punched in the nose, which broke.

And the cop--a big guy at about 6 feet and 240 pounds--threw several more punches.

"I tried to move away. I didn't fight back or anything. I just put my arms up to avoid getting hit. Then he hit me on the head with the flashlight.

"And I was sort of sliding along the car, trying to avoid being hit, so he tackled me and we went down on the ground. He was yelling for me to put my hands behind my back, but with him on top of me, I was having a hard time. I kept telling him: `I'm trying to put my hands behind my back.'

"So he got me in a choke hold and I could hardly breathe. The chokehold increased the pressure on my head, so the blood was really coming out of my nose and the cut on my head.

"I finally got my hands behind my back, and the other officer put the cuffs on me.

"The policeman who hit me looked at the CD player. He saw that it was jammed.

"My friend, Carlos Sanchez, asked him: "Why did you hit him so much?'

"The policeman said: `The last time I had something like this, I got my jaw broken.'

So why did I begin by saying this incident was a good thing?

Because Velazquez, 20, who got the busted nose, and Sanchez, 22, who saw the whole thing, were in the car at that location because it is near the St. Joseph Seminary.

And both men are seminarians at St. Joseph. Velazquez, who will soon be getting a double degree in philosophy and political science, with a minor in theology, was described by Rev. James Presta, rector of St. Joseph, as "just a wonderful young man. They are both fine young men."

So it is always good when someone like Velazquez gets whacked around by an out-of-control cop. He is believable. And his experience tells us that minorities ain't just blowing smoke when they say that some cops treat them like dirt.

It could have happened to a busboy or a gangbanger. But the media and the police Office of Professional Standards might be less inclined to take it seriously.

Back to the story:

"In the squad car," Velazquez says, "I told them I was a seminarian. The policeman who hit me said: `Oh, maybe you'd like to meet God in an alley.'

Having grown up in the Back of the Yards neighborhood, Velazquez knew that when dealing with a ham-fisted cop who talks about meeting God in an alley, it's best to say as little as possible.

At the station, the other cop brought him wet paper towels so he could clean the blood off his face. Other police officers took him to Edgewater Hospital, where his nose was treated and four stitches were put in his head.

Word that a seminarian from nearby St. Joseph had been roughed up got around the station fast. While Velazquez was still at the hospital, a considerate police sergeant was there to take his story.

When I spoke to the district commander to confirm that the case is being investigated, he sounded almost devastated. Understandably, since this isn't the kind of thing any decent cop wants happening under his command.

Especially with all the corruption and brutality headlines coming out of the West Side's Austin District.

I'm not going to use the allegedly brutal cop's name for the same reason I sometimes omit names from certain kinds of stories.

I couldn't reach him, and it is possible that he has a wife and kids. There's no reason that they should be publicly humiliated if he is a horse's south end.

Velazquez is pursuing the matter and wants the story made public because, "If that policeman is mentally unstable, a dangerous person, he should not be in that job."

Funny thing is, in a fair fight, the seminarian might have mopped up the cop. In high school at a seminary in Wisconsin, Velazquez, was third in the state in wrestling--good enough to be offered college athletic scholarships.

"But I couldn't fight back because he had an advantage--that piece of metal on his chest."





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Reply Blast from the Past, an old article by Mike Royko, NIGHT ENCOUNTER WITH CITY'S FINEST IS WORST KIND (Original post)
Beringia Jun 14 OP
tblue37 Jun 14 #1
Jim__ Jun 14 #2
LenaBaby61 Jun 14 #3
malaise Jun 14 #4
Mariana Jun 14 #6
malaise Jun 14 #8
dalton99a Jun 14 #10
dalton99a Jun 14 #9
murielm99 Jun 14 #5
dalton99a Jun 14 #7
greatauntoftriplets Jun 14 #11
Beringia Jun 14 #13
world wide wally Jun 14 #12

Response to Beringia (Original post)

Sun Jun 14, 2020, 10:56 AM

1. K&R for visibility. nt

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Response to Beringia (Original post)

Sun Jun 14, 2020, 10:57 AM

2. Great article. I used to really enjoy reading Royko.

He was beat up by the cops a few times himself.

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Response to Jim__ (Reply #2)

Sun Jun 14, 2020, 11:04 AM

3. I used to really enjoy reading Royko.

Same here.

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Response to Beringia (Original post)

Sun Jun 14, 2020, 11:09 AM

4. No surprise here except I disagree with this

There's no reason that they should be publicly humiliated if he is a horse's south end.

There is every reason to humiliate these scumbags posing as police publicly.

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Response to malaise (Reply #4)

Sun Jun 14, 2020, 11:20 AM

6. He was talking about the cop's family, not the cop himself.

However, the families of other criminals get publicly humiliated when the stories about their crimes are published. Therefore, I disagree with Royko that criminal cops deserve any special protection from publicity.

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Response to Mariana (Reply #6)

Sun Jun 14, 2020, 11:33 AM

8. NO - this is from the article

I'm not going to use the allegedly brutal cop's name for the same reason I sometimes omit names from certain kinds of stories.

I couldn't reach him, and it is possible that he has a wife and kids. There's no reason that they should be publicly humiliated if he is a horse's south end.

---------------------------
Expose the scumbag

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Response to malaise (Reply #8)

Sun Jun 14, 2020, 11:35 AM

10. "I can't name him because he has a family"

Who doesn't have a family?

Royko knew that he would be in physical jeopardy if he mentioned names.

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Response to malaise (Reply #4)

Sun Jun 14, 2020, 11:33 AM

9. Absolutely.


Actions should have consequences


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Response to Beringia (Original post)

Sun Jun 14, 2020, 11:12 AM

5. I love Royko.

A couple of years ago, my kids gave me a book that is a collection of his columns. It is wonderful. It has the Jackie Robinson column in it, too. That is one that can bring tears to your eyes.

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Response to Beringia (Original post)

Sun Jun 14, 2020, 11:32 AM

7. And the police have gotten worse and out of control


Far worse

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Response to Beringia (Original post)

Sun Jun 14, 2020, 11:37 AM

11. Believe it or not, I actually remember that story.

At the time, I lived about one mile from Loyola and was an avid Royko reader. This was about two months before he died and he was still great. Now and then, I'd see him walking down Michigan Avenue. I worked next door to the Tribune back then. It always surprised me how tall Royko was, well over 6 feet tall. He was immediately recognizable and had quite a physical presence. He died way too young.

Thanks for posting this.

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Response to greatauntoftriplets (Reply #11)

Sun Jun 14, 2020, 03:00 PM

13. You're welcome, I saw him in the Tribune building waiting for the elevator once

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Response to Beringia (Original post)

Sun Jun 14, 2020, 02:01 PM

12. Royko was the best. I used to read his column every day when I was younger.

He wrote about everything from incidents like this to midget bars to whatever popped into his head. I have never seen anyone else like him.

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