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When you say that it is just a few, bad apples, you do a great disservice to reality and to the people all over this country that have suffered at the hands of this system. This is a systemic, cultural issue, and it cannot be fully addressed until we at least accept that there is a problem.

Cory Doctorow:

The more we learn about the Chicago Police Department, the worse it gets -- there's the sabotage of dashcams, the widespread corruption, the investigators fired for refusing to cover up police crimes, off-the-books "black site" where the CPD kidnaps and tortures suspects, the Accountability Task Force Report that called the force racist, corrupt and broken.

But there has never been a more thorough -- or more gripping -- account of the top-down rot in the Chicago PD than Jamie Kalven's four-part series that tells the true, exhaustive story of the $2 million settlement with two officers who blew the whistle on a gang of their colleagues who extracted bribes from drug dealers in the projects of Chicago, arrested their rivals, squashed all internal investigations into their actions, threatened the lives and livelihoods of whistleblowers, and, possibly, arranged for the murder of police informants. Despite the mountain of evidence available to Kalven -- and prosecutors, and the FBI, and the CPD -- only two officers were ever successfully prosecuted for these crimes, both given minor sentences, allowed to keep the money they'd stolen, and subsequently released to walk the streets as free, rich Americans without a care in the world.

The two whistleblowers -- Shannon Spalding and her partner Danny Echeverria -- spent five years working with the CPD and the FBI on their case, only to be sidelined, outed as informants, threatened, and, eventually, forced out of the police department after honorable careers in law-enforcement. By contrast, the named senior officials and cops who helped the dirtiest cops on the force get away with (possibly literal) murder retired from the force with "six-figure pensions" and were never even reprimanded or publicly shamed for their role in the cover up.

At a time when the Democratic establishment in Chicago is touting Rahm Emmanuel as a reformer, and when black Americans are insisting that the officers they encounter are crime syndicates in uniforms, acting with impunity, Kalven's story is a merciless disassembly of the machinery of one such badge-and-gun criminal gangs, and a pitiless spotlight on the broken system that lets those crime-gangs prey on the poorest and most vulnerable people in America.

Paul Ciano

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