Chicago cop who posed for photo with black man wearing antlers wants job back

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A Chicago police officer who was fired after posing in a racially-charged photo wants his job back. (WLS)

A racially charged photo shows two Chicago police officers holding rifles and a black man wearing deer antlers. Now, one of the officers wants to be back on the police force.

The picture was taken about 15 years ago, and both of these men are no longer cops. One is in prison, and the other was fired for appearing in this photo, which appears to be a mock-up of some sort of perverse hunting scene in which white police officers find their African-American prey.

Chicago police brass didn't want you to see the photo showing two special operations officers, rifles in hand. One has his hand on the throat of an arrestee, who was wearing deer antlers.

"As far as I'm concerned for that officer, good riddance. You don't belong in the police department," Mayor Rahm Emanuel said.

The FBI uncovered the photo during its investigation of the former officer on the left, Jerome Finnigan. He was convicted of leading a crew of rogue cops who shook down drug dealers and stole hundreds of thousands of dollars. Finnigan was also convicted of plotting to kill another police officer.

The other special operations officer in the photo is Timothy McDermott, a decorated detective who told the police board he only "very, very vaguely" remembered posing for the picture.

McDermott said, "I remember walking through (the police station) and someone saying 'Hey, Timmie, take a picture.'"

"Our whole idea of a police department is to serve and protect and the values expressed in that photo are not the values of the people of the City of Chicago," Emanuel said.

While the photo is at least a dozen years old, what it symbolizes makes news almost every day: mistrust of the police.

"That was very disgusting and disheartening and to watch officers of the law participate in something like that, I think this is something going in the Chicago Police Department," said William Calloway, Black Lives Matter.

"There's some bad police without a doubt, just like there are bad preachers and bad teachers. But for the most part, I believe the police are doing the best they can do," said Pastor Corey Brooks, New Beginnings Church.

The FBI turned the photo over to Chicago police in 2013. It took a while for Internal Affairs and the police board to investigate and finally approve Superintendent Garry McCarthy's recommendation to fire Officer McDermott. He's now fighting his firing in court.

McDermott's attorney told ABC station WLS-TV a simple snapshot doesn't tell the whole story, and there's no evidence the African-American man was in custody, so he questions whether the photo was even taken against the man's will.

Related Topics:
chicago police departmentracismrahm emanuelu.s. & worldIllinois
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