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Attorney General Loretta Lynch speaks during a news conference accompanied by Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, left, and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel Friday, Jan. 13, 2017, in Chicago. (AP File Photo/Teresa Crawford)

Mihalopoulos: On blogs, cops offer own take on federal report

SHARE Mihalopoulos: On blogs, cops offer own take on federal report
SHARE Mihalopoulos: On blogs, cops offer own take on federal report

Follow @dmihalopoulosJudging by their responses in social media, many of the city’s police officers were totally unmoved by the findings of the federal government’s investigation into the Chicago Police Department.

In the posts and comment sections of the Second City Cop blog, you won’t find any serious discussion of the many disturbing incidents or the systemic, dysfunctional practices detailed by the feds last week.

There was nearly unanimous scorn for a report that anonymous commenters dismissed as a “scam,” a “crock of s—” and “garbage” that was produced “for the sole purpose of advancing an agenda.”

One Second City Cop commenter pointed out that the head of the U.S. Department of Justice division that conducted the investigation here had been “legal council” [sic] for the NAACP.

“Bias everywhere!!!” that commenter concluded.

OPINION

Follow @dmihalopoulosYou see, it’s the cops who are the victims here, despite the DOJ’s allegations that the department regularly violates constitutional rights.

Others consoled fellow officers by looking ahead to the inauguration of a new sheriff in D.C.on Friday, exactly one week after the report on the CPD was made public.

They ain’t afraid of no feds. And why should they be? President-elect Donald Trump has picked an attorney general who shares their bedrock belief that they’ve been unfairly maligned after all the racially charged disputes across the country during the past couple years.

“Hopefully the DOJ run by adults under Trump will re-examine the report,” one commenter said on Second City Cop.

The officer who authors the blog alleged the Justice Department sought to get information only from “people with ingrained prejudices against the police, people with histories versus the police, people whose livelihood relies on suing the police — people with axes to grind.”

Anybody who occasionally reads the comments on the blog would have expected nothing more. Torrents of racist, obscene, barely literate emails flood us in the media anytime we report unflattering news about Chicago cops.

The stuff on Second City Cop also is pretty tame compared to the bigoted social-media posts by police that the feds highlighted in the report. Racist and anti-Muslim statements are endemic, with the feds writing of an officer who posted, “The only good Muslim is a f—— dead one.”

As nasty as that is, the comments cited by the government pale in comparison to the other misconduct catalogued in the report. After all, words can’t hurt nearly as much as sticks, stones, billy clubs and bullets unnecessarily fired.

But the attitudes exhibited by many officers in social media show how hard it will be to change the department. They also do nothing but further pollute the atmosphere in which the Chicago police are supposed to do their jobs.

“We found that some Chicago police officers expressed discriminatory views and intolerance with regard to race, religion, gender and national origin in public social media forums, and that CPD takes insufficient steps to prevent or appropriately respond to this animus,” the feds reported. “This type of misconduct contributes to a culture that facilitates unreasonable force and corrodes community trust.”

Punishing such behavior, as Mayor Rahm Emanuel is promising to do, won’t be easy.

One particularly disgusting blog went dark a few years back, right after my colleague Robert Herguth linked itto a police officer on disability. The blog’s last post, from 2013, still directs readers to another, new site that’s as revolting as almost anything out there today. Second City Cop has a link to that site on its homepage.

Officers surely will complain that a crackdown on their social-media posts violates their freedom. The First Amendment indeed does let everybody in this country espouse whatever we choose, including bigotry.

It’s not, however, the city’s obligation to continue to pay anybody good taxpayer money to serve and protect whole classes of people they unabashedly and openly hate.

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