The Chainlink

Just had a terrible experience with one of Chicago's "finest" and am curious to know if anyone has ever filed a complaint about a police officer's driving and behavior on the road.  I was riding south in the bike lane on Halsted between Roosevelt and 14th in the middle of the afternoon on NYE when a police van made a left turn right in front of me.  He was on the east side of Halsted and made a very wide left to head south onto Halsted, so wide that his van essentially was swinging right into the bike lane directly in front of me.  He stopped abruptly and so did I to avoid a collision.  It was an absolutely terrible left turn on his part -- it was almost like he was going straight at me -- and as I pedaled past him, I glared into the car.  Only glared --  no shouting, no fingers.  Then, as he passed me moments later, he yelled 'F*^$ YOU, YOU A$$HOLE' to me outside the passenger side window.  He then turned right on what I think was 14th and that was the end of exchange. 

Before even catching my breath, I immediately called 311 and have now filed an incident report with the Internal Affairs Division of the CPD.  Has anyone gone through this process?  I have been given a complaint number and I've been told to follow up in 10-12 days, at which point my case will have been assigned an investigator.  I want the officer behind the wheel of this police van painted held accountable for his actions on the road.  Any advice on how to navigate this process would be greatly appreciated.

Tags: Chicago, Department, Police

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Did you have the number of the police vehicle?  If you have that, they can confirm who was assigned to be driving it at the time. 

But, frankly, nothing will come of this.  Cops routinely get away with multiple brutality beefs and other complaints from citizens.  if the CPD even follows up, the cop will just say no such thing happened, or that you gave him the finger, and it'll be You Say, He Says, and when that happens, that's the end of it.  Without independent third-party witnesses to this kind of behavior, it will NEVER get the cop in trouble.

Personally I would forget about it.

Sounds like typical Chicago driving to me.

I do not find it shocking that police drive more erratically than the rest they are very distracted by their radio, computer, cellphones., how many bullets left in Glock.............

Be thankful he didn't hit you, you would probably be in lock-up right now.

I seldom follow the examples set by those in power.

Bunch of Hippocrites and frauds.

Hoping for a better New Year!

Some of them are really good people, and some are assholes.  I'm sorry you had such an unpleasant encounter with one of the assholes.

Bill's right about needing an independent witness to get anywhere with this sort of thing.  FYI - the vehicle number he refers to is NOT the one painted on the vehicle.  You need the beat tag # - the one on the black and white tag on top of the light bar.

Police are known for being sociopathically aggressive drivers on and off duty, and are very defensive about this behavior. When an unarmored citizen gets in their way and doesn't get up, they are often punished very lightly (and they know it). You want to say that it's a few bad eggs and no one should think less of police, fine, but everyone should use extra caution around police cars. I think there is an elevated risk of incident around the blue-and-whites, and getting into an incident with a police can go very badly for you.

If the IA deem it as an actual issue expect a vist from some of the local beat cops "asking" if you really want to pursue it.

Appreciate all the responses.  A few days removed from the incident I am certainly less upset than I was immediately after it happened.  As of now, I still plan to check with IA in a few days to see if the incident has been assigned an officer.  Though I don't really expect much to come of this complaint -- and I did report the vehicle and beat number -- I just want the officers responsible to answer questions about the incident.  I'd like to believe that some positive can result from reporting this confrontation.

PFE, while I commend you on following through with the complaint. I have to ask, are you from Chicago?! No other metro city in this country has the free reign that our CPD does. Right or wrong "it is what it is." I was once almost run over by an unmarked car speeding down a one way street with their lights off at night.

Best to stay as far away from cops as possible.  Treat a cop car like it is an ambulance or fire truck with the lights and siren running.  This goes for cabs as well -very unpredictable and can do anything on the road without notice up to an including riding up over the curb and onto the sidewalk.  Stay out of their way and keep an eye out to identify them on the road.

A cop car (or even a fire truck or ambulance) can maneuver erratically at any time with or without turning on its lights or sirens.  The same goes for a taxi.

Remember, these cops are more important than you or I, as civilians.  We are expendable on the street, and if we get in their way while they do their duty they will not be punished or face any long-term issues other than maybe a little paperwork hassle. 

Inside a patrol car or on foot, I treat the police like a dangerous animal or a table saw running unsupervised without any guards installed.  They are just best left outside of arm's reach. 

Mountie Captain: I do not approve of your methods! 
Ness: Yeah, well... You're not from Chicago. 


El Dorado said:

PFE, while I commend you on following through with the complaint. I have to ask, are you from Chicago?! No other metro city in this country has the free reign that our CPD does. Right or wrong "it is what it is." I was once almost run over by an unmarked car speeding down a one way street with their lights off at night.

I have lived her for the past 10+ years, so I'm definitely a Chicagoan.  Thankfully, I haven't had any dealings with cops in the past.  For the most part, I agree that whenever I see officers I feel less at ease and more threatened than when none are around.  As for this complaint, the more I read postings to this thread, the more I want a record of this type of police behavior.  I sincerely hope there are never serious incidents involving cops and a cyclist -- or anyone and cyclists for that matter -- but if one does arise, records of incidents like the one I experienced could show a pattern of CPD recklessness and contempt for cyclists. 

I will be sure to post how my complaint is handled by CPD and Internal Affairs.

thank you for having the presence of mind and follow-through to report this guy. "it is what it is" isn't going to get us anywhere, and, with all the new bike lanes/new riders, built and planned, we actually have reason to believe we are going somewhere. 

PFEggs said:

I have lived her for the past 10+ years, so I'm definitely a Chicagoan.  Thankfully, I haven't had any dealings with cops in the past.  For the most part, I agree that whenever I see officers I feel less at ease and more threatened than when none are around.  As for this complaint, the more I read postings to this thread, the more I want a record of this type of police behavior.  I sincerely hope there are never serious incidents involving cops and a cyclist -- or anyone and cyclists for that matter -- but if one does arise, records of incidents like the one I experienced could show a pattern of CPD recklessness and contempt for cyclists. 

I will be sure to post how my complaint is handled by CPD and Internal Affairs.

Not directly related, but interesting:

http://youtu.be/Vxx6H7PzJOo

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