A Chicago Police officer who is a Fraternal Order of Police trustee has filed a complaint with the Civilian Office of Police Accountability accusing the commander of the South Chicago District of being out of uniform during a tense stand-off between citizens and police that followed Saturday’s police shooting of Harith Augustus.
Police Officer Fernando Flores said Commander Gloria Hanna endangered herself and her fellow officers by showing up at the protest unarmed without any of the equipment she needed to make an arrest or protect herself.
“Any time you’re in the public, you’re supposed to be in uniform,” said Flores, a police officer assigned to the unit that protects O’Hare Airport.
“She’s out of uniform. She doesn’t have a uniform shirt on. She doesn’t have her duty belt, which consists of a firearm, handcuffs, possibly some mace and a baton. She doesn’t have what she would have to affect an arrest. Not only did she endanger herself in a near-riot situation. But, the people now have to look out for her to make sure that she’s safe.”
Hanna could not be reached for comment.
Chicago Police Department spokesman Anthony Guglielmi refused to comment on a COPA complaint he hasn’t seen.
Flores said if he or any other officer had committed a similar offense, they would have been slapped with a five-day suspension, “maybe more.”
The uniform violation is even worse — and the discipline should be harsher — for a district commander charged with supervising officers, he said.
“Discipline has to go both ways,” Flores said.
The fatal shooting occurred about 5:30 p.m. Saturday after a group of officers questioned Augustus, a 37-year-old barber, in the 2000 block of East 71st Street.
Protests erupted quickly Saturday night, injuring four officers.
People taunted officers with chants of “murderers” and “Who do you serve? Who do you protect?” One officer was hit with the bottle of urine, and people also threw rocks. Police eventually tried to push protesters back, hitting at least a dozen people with batons.
Peaceful protests followed on Sunday and Monday.
Flores said he filed the complaint after seeing photos of Hanna widely circulated on Facebook and on the Second City Cop blog widely-read by Chicago Police officers.
The photos show Hanna dressed in sweatpants and shiny silver gym shoes wearing a bulletproof vest, but otherwise out of uniform while standing on a police line with fellow officers in front of yellow crime scene tape.
She is unarmed and not wearing her duty belt.
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