After 15 years as an online water-cooler for Chicago’s police officers, the anonymously authored Second City Cop blog was closed to the public over the weekend.
Operators of the popular site — read by thousands of people daily and often referred to as “SCC” or merely “the blog” — changed its settings to private over the weekend, preventing anyone without an invitation from reading future posts.
A CPD source points out to me just now that Second City Cop appears to have gone dark pic.twitter.com/5eK3mVLdAF— Sam Charles (@samjcharles) January 11, 2021
In one of the blog’s final public posts, on Jan. 9, the author sought to minimize the actions of the pro-Trump mob that stormed the United States Capitol building earlier in the week. The mob’s mayhem eventually left five people dead, including a police officer.
“But dems and lefties are talking like there was another Federal courthouse burned in Portland, a building leveled by a truck bomb in Oklahoma City, maybe some airliners crashed into New York skyscrapers,” the author wrote. “Almost like their scripts were written for an incident that never lived up to expectations.”
The blog’s anonymous authors, believed to be at least one current and one former Chicago Police Department officer, would typically craft at least a half-dozen posts per week, offering rumors about internal CPD dynamics and scathing commentary on local leaders and institutions.
In a statement provided to the Crime in Wrigleyville and Boystown blog — one of SCC’s preferred media outlets — the owner of Second City Cop did not rule out reviving the site in a different format, saying:
“Well, this was certainly a long time coming. Fifteen years, over 22,000 posts, almost two million comments and God knows how many attempts to silence us. But might finally be over … at least this version of it.”
The SCC authors had a long list of recurring targets, including Mayor Lori Lightfoot, CPD Supt. David Brown, Gov. J.B. Pritzker, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, the Civilian Office of Police Accountability, the Chicago Teachers Union, the American Civil Liberties Union, various CPD supervisors, clergy leaders and the media.
Aside from police officers, the blog was a must-read for local journalists and decision-makers in the CPD and mayor’s office. On a semi-frequent basis, the blog’s authors would leave breadcrumbs — story tips — for local reporters. If and when a media outlet picked up on a blog rumor, the SCC author would later encourage the reporter to donate $50 to the CPD’s chaplains.
“It was like the high school rumor mill on a board for the world to see,” one CPD source said.
Just last month, a North Side alderman learned the blog’s influence the hard way.
Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) apologized for violating state and city orders when he allowed customers to dine inside one of his Ann Sather restaurants — a revelation first made public by Second City Cop.
And though some posts were rife with racial undertones, the CPD would sometimes use the blog as a way to take the temperature of rank-and-file officers.
“Even though the information in it was not necessarily accurate or helpful or based on fact, you at least got a sense of what was bothering people, to some extent,” the source added. “We did use it to say, ‘Hey, let’s look into this issue.’ We’ve done that a lot. Not from a punitive standpoint, but [thinking] ‘Hey, they’re posting about being short [on manpower] in districts. Let’s look at that.’”
Speaking to the Chicago Sun-Times in 2007, one of the blog’s authors said:
“The media doesn’t understand what it’s like to drive down dark alleys, to run toward the sound of gunfire, to chase someone over fences and have to tackle and fight someone into handcuffs ... or respond to a ‘man shot’ call and see blood and brains spilled all over the sidewalk, and if you’re really quick to the scene, listen to the victim’s last screams, moans or gurgles.”