Chicago’s Immersion in Anti-Police Movement Allows Predators to Roam Free

May 27, 2022
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Fate of CPD Officers Coughlin and Torres reveal why the Tyshon Brownlees of Chicago run free

Is the gruesome, tragic attempted murder of a young culinary student who was robbed and shot three times on May 6 the result of lawmakers handcuffing Chicago Police?

After the entire nation watched in horror the video of Tyshon Brownlee stand over Dakotah Earley and fire three rounds into Earley, leaving Earley critically wounded and clinging to life, Chicago media outlet CWB Chicago discovered that police had confronted Tyshon Brownlee shortly before Brownlee shot Earley.

According CWB, Brownlee, who was suspected in a series of robberies throughout the city, was confronted by police in a stolen BMW at Northerly Island. Police were notified about the stolen car from the automaker, who were tracking it, according to CWB. When police arrived, Brownlee took off, free to commit another robbery and, as it would turn out, an attempted murder.

Describing the police confronting Brownlee prior to his shooting Earley under the subtitle “would haves and could haves,” CWB wrote:

"When CPD learned of the car’s location, the department knew, or should have known, that the BMW and, likely, its occupants had been involved in a string of armed robberies across Lakeview and Lincoln Park, including three that occurred just a few hours earlier."

However, Chicago police officers are now overburdened by countless policies or regulations, written and unwritten, that prevent them from taking action against those they suspect of committing crimes. To take such elemental police actions like pursuing criminals like Brownlee have become excessively risky, and places officers in legal, financial, and criminal jeopardy. A mindboggling collection of city forces lies in wait for any officer even approaching a potentially controversial decision, not in the least of which is the decision to chase a suspect, even one suspected in a series of carjackings. Chicago police officers know all too well that even a justified foot or vehicle chase or a use of force will turn on the police if the offender is injured or killed.

The limitations imposed on modern-day policing is a consequence of the anti-police movement. The “movement” has placed overt fundamental limitations on the police in the form of legislation, a consent decree for example, and a politicized Department of Justice, but has also wormed its way into lesser policies and oversight agencies, all of which are driven by an aim to scapegoat as many police officers as possible. The anti-police movement’s crowning achievement was the election of Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, who has transformed her office from an agency intended to handle the prosecution of criminals into a device that aims to free criminals from imprisonment and criminalize police behavior.

Foxx transforming the purpose of her office, combined with the weakness of Chicago’s elected lawmakers and the city’s activist media, have left police in Chicago knowing that real policing means risking everything in their lives. Officers have become aware that the restrictions on policing, the handcuffing of police, is so extensive that it is almost expected that officers must endure physical injury or suffer gunshot wounds before they can legitimately engage in use of force.

Explaining how the constraints placed on officers have forced CPD to retreat from vigilant policing, CWB quoted a veteran officer who explained police constraints and fears succinctly:

"Nobody’s going to get stripped [of police powers] for not chasing a BMW full of armed robbers."

To see the devastating consequences of the weakening of police authority in Chicago that has led to bands of violent, predatory youth like Brownlee carrying out crime sprees throughout Chicago, one only has to look at two heroic officers who made the fateful decision to fight criminals like Brownlee. The saga of these two officers fired for attempting to protect the public from the many Tyshon Brownlees across Chicago is by now a familiar story, and one that symbolizes a decline in public safety and serves as a dire warning for police officers committed to fighting violent crime.

On July 28, 2016, Officers Michael Coughlin and Jose Torres were assigned to a beat car in the Grand Crossing District on Chicago’s South Side. Reliable officers who enjoyed the respect and support of their coworkers and supervisors, both men had enlisted in the military in part because of the terrorist attacks on 9-11. In their roll call briefings at the beginning of each shift, the officers had received ongoing intelligence reports that a crew of criminals, like Tyshon Brownlee, had been stealing luxury cars and using them to commit a wide range of crimes, including shootings.

Sure enough, after the two men hit the streets, they heard radio traffic reporting a stolen BMW. Coughlin and Torres then spotted the stolen vehicle, which almost struck the officers’ squad car as it sped away.

An example of the chaos now commonplace in Chicago, the officers later heard a report on their radio of a stolen Jaguar being chased by another police vehicle. The officers parked their squad car in an attempt to block off the offenders and exited their car. Officer Coughlin had his weapon unholstered. The offending vehicle approached, but like Brownlee, refused to stop. Officer Coughlin believed the driver was attempting to run over Officer Torres so Coughlin opened fire. Torres also fired his weapon once.

Despite being shot at, the driver of the car, Paul O’Neal, continued driving northbound on the 7400 block of South Merrill, eventually crashing his car head on into another police vehicle. Still unwilling to surrender, O’Neal fled on foot, and was pursued by other officers into the backyard of a home where another officer thought O’Neal was drawing a gun. An officer then fired at O’Neal, mortally wounding him.  

Chicago’s civilian oversight agency, the Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA), that has moved steadily into the anti-police fold over the last few decades, investigated the case and recommended Coughlin and Torres be dismissed. COPA arbitrarily rejected Coughlin’s claim that he thought his partner was about to be run over by the stolen car driven by O’Neal. COPA concluded that the officers had driven the wrong way on a one-way street to park in the street where O’Neal would soon approach.

Driving the wrong way on a one-way street. How could they? The officers should have obeyed every traffic code, even if it meant being too late to confront a potential killer.

COPA investigators also brought out the fact that Coughlin, who had almost been struck by another stolen vehicle earlier the same day, had his weapon drawn before getting out of his squad car.

Does the subsequent murder of Officer Ella French and wounding of her partner in a traffic stop of other murderous gang members influence the sage analysis of the civilian investigators about having a gun at the ready? The civilian investigators also chided Officers Torres and Coughlin for firing at O’Neal in a manner that threatened other officers in the area. The latest tactic, along with the city’s new mantra that officers should always seek to “de-escalate,” are little more than meaningless buzzwords that allow the civilian oversight agencies to trump up misconduct claims against officers where none exists. Coughlan and Torres were both seasoned officers patrolling a high-crime area. Both officers had received extensive weapons training as members of the Marine Corps. No officer responding to O’Neal’s car theft were injured by an errant police bullet.

The recommendation of the civilian oversight board was then passed on to the city’s native kangaroo court, the Chicago Police Board. Held in a mock courtroom pretending to follow the rules and laws of normal trials with rules of evidence, the officers never stood a chance. Attorneys from the city’s Corporation Counsel stalked the courtroom and the hallways, clearly eager to see the two officers vilified in a process reminiscent of a Soviet-era trial where the accused face a predetermined outcome. This would be the same corporation counsel that routinely marches into City Council meetings and shamelessly argues the city should pay out another multi-million-dollar settlement to some former offender “exonerated” of a vicious murder, despite the fact that its own attorneys have spent millions of the taxpayer’s money uncovering evidence the exonerated man is actually guilty.

The finale of a Police Board trial is the closing arguments from an attorney hired by the city to argue against the officers. Here the full antipathy and disrespect toward the police is revealed in the willingness of these the well-paid attorneys to argue not simply that the officers committed error, but to paint a picture of the officers so vicious and demeaning that one could conclude the officers' actions were somehow criminal. This is how Chicago’s elitist attorneys treat its police officers, some of whom are ex-service members with stellar service records.

It is at this stage the other Chicago institution that trains police in its crosshairs exposes itself: Chicago’s biased media. A city known for uniformity in journalism across broadcast and print media, Chicago leads the nation in the decline of American journalism. With bias against police in media so prevalent, it is often impossible to find one lone journalist willing come forward and argue in favor of police, let alone either Coughlin and Torres. A reality in Chicago, the fact that media never gave a voice to those who believed that the officers were being framed and just echoed the arguments of the civilian investigators and the Police Board, shows that journalists in Chicago are working public relations for the anti-police movement.

A cynic might believe the media is so corrupt in Chicago it is actively engaged in limiting coverage to prevent a narrative from taking hold, to prevent the public from getting the whole side of the story.

Six decades ago, the anti-police movement took root in various cities around the country. Initially, it formed on the street in various violent riots and then through a series of bombings across the country. The movement then matured and evolved exponentially. The movement especially targeted police officers, building a mythology of criminality against them. Eventually it moved into the political class, finally manipulating the Illinois governor's office into pardoning or commuting the sentences of convicted killers who had utterly failed to convince any judges, prosecutors, juries or appeals courts that the accused were actually innocent. The governor’s office has also shrunk into an outpost on behalf of the anti-police movement, just as Kim Foxx’s prosecutor’s office has. In the last decade or so, the movement, as it is often called by its practitioners, began targeting for removal from the bench judges who didn’t obey the movement’s dictates.  

After enduring an excruciating civilian investigative process and the Police Board kangaroo trial, Officers Coughlin and Torres had one final hope, an appeal to the Chancery Division of the Cook County Circuit Court. Here the officers’ attorneys dissected the case based upon actual law and precedent and that chronic nuisance to the anti-police movement and its supporters, the Constitution. Judge Eve Reilly heard the case and lambasted much of the city’s arguments during the proceedings, dashing the hopes the officers might prevail after all. Then a lengthy silence followed, extending past the period of her election before Reilly finally put her stamp on the city’s decision to fire the officers.

Was Reilly’s decision to fire Coughlin and Torres based on the law? Or, on the other hand, did Reilly time her ruling based on electoral politics? It is difficult to say, but it must also be considered Reilly's ruling may have been influenced by the anti-police movement and the movement’s co-conspirators, the hyenas in Chicago media.

Apart from the deceit necessary for the anti-police movement's successful intrusion into Chicago’s political and cultural institutions, an even greater cowardice exists in this story. Of all the individuals or institutions that contributed to the dismissal of Officers Michael Coughlin and Jose Torres, not one would ever, for a moment, admit that the sharp escalation in crime like Tyshon Brownlee shooting Dakotah Earley is rooted in their chronic betrayal of courageous police officers.

Officers Coughlin and Torres must be proud, no matter what Chicago’s political class, media, and legal hacks did to their careers. On that August day in 2016, Coughlin and Torres were attempting to confront Paul O’Neal in a stolen car. Both officers demonstrated great courage and took necessary steps to stop criminal activity, and they know better than anyone that the city they tried to protect is working to stop them from doing so.

They also know better than anyone why no one chased Brownlee in the BMW that night.

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