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Slain cop’s handcuffs used to hold man charged in his killing, police say

Officer John Rivera's handcuffs were used to transport the man accused of shooting him to death last weekend. | Police

When John Rivera’s mother learned someone had been arrested for her son’s murder, she went and retrieved the handcuffs he used to make arrests as a member of the Chicago Police Department.

Her son had been killed early Saturday while he was off-duty and enjoying a night out with friends in River North. On Monday, authorities said Menelik Jackson shot Rivera, 23, after Jackson had gotten in a dispute with a group of Latinos earlier in the evening night. Jackson, 24, later happened upon Rivera, who was in the area at the time, and shot him possibly in a case of mistaken identity.

After Jackson was arrested on the South Side over the weekend, Rivera’s mother personally delivered his handcuffs to Area Central Headquarters, 5101 S. Wentworth, where he was being held.

“When we got to the point where we had him in custody and it was a done deal, the mother asked, ‘Would you please use his handcuffs to transport him from the interview room down to the lockup?'” Ed Wodnicki, the commander of Area Central detectives, said Monday.

While it’s unclear whether the tactic has been used before in Chicago, there have been other instances around the country of police being murdered where the victim’s handcuffs were used to arrest the alleged offender.

The symbolic gesture provided Rivera’s mother — who still lives in the Hegewisch home where Rivera grew up— with a measure of solace, Wodnicki said. Her son was the nephew of a high-ranking CPD official and had joined the force at the age of 21.

The cuffs were later returned to her.