A Cop Block reader and advocate for true justice, and privatizing systems of protection recently got a firsthand look at the injustice of our current “justice system.” Shaun Lee became aware of the fact that a violent and disgusting crime had been committed against her friend. Even though her friend did not want to come forward, she decided that she would seek the help of the police to possibly find a little bit of justice for her friend, but the police had no interest in even taking a report. Here is Shaun’s account of her attempt to get the police to simply look into the matter.
It came to my attention tonight, that a friend of mine was raped Friday night. She had walked to a Walgreens to buy minutes for her phone. It was in Chicago. Less than 10 degrees outside, it was a six block walk. She made it there fine. As she was leaving there was a cabbie stationed in the street on her way home. This cab driver asked my friend if she wanted to use his service. She informed him she was out of money and would just walk. This driver in his mid 20s-30 was decent looking, kind and said he was headed that way anyway, it was cold and offered her a ride. She took him up on his generous offer.
Generosity it appears is not what he had on his mind. He preceded to drive down a dark street and force her to perform sexual acts. Then drove her home.
Having been a victim of rape, I understand the self-blame and shame that goes along with becoming a victim. I understand not calling the police, I understand not wanting to be drilled about what just happened. I understand not daring to speak the word “rape”. For to know, that even for a moment, you had no control over your well being, what was being done to your body, or what you were being forced to do to anothers, is bone-chilling and terrifying. To speak it, to be drilled about it, by police is reliving it. All over again.
So, I decided to do something. To call the Chicago PD on behalf of my friend. Needless to say, I didnt get a warm reception, even though I was trying to help them get one of the ACTUAL bad guys off the streets. The info I have is age, race, cab, time of station, time of rape, stature, he shares his cab, there is a cum stain on the seat of the vehicle etc. I have all the information they need to at least question this person. They initially refused to speak with me, cut me off and said “If your not the victim we cant talk to you”.
I took an hour and cooled off, then I called back. At first I got a Mrs. Sgt Carter on the phone who told me the same thing as the first woman. She couldn’t talk to me. I asked to speak with her manager. She asked me why. I said “I am a tax paying citizen and I have questions to ask” She said “the same questions you asked me” I replied that it did not matter, that I wanted to speak with her manager. She grudgingly passed the phone to a gentleman named Sgt. Keller.
The Following is a transcription of the conversation between Sgt. Keller and myself.
He told me “We can take information, but we cannot file a report” Me “what happens with the information, if its not a report?” Him “It gets passed to the investigative body” This is where I gave him all the details I outlined above.
Then the contradictions begin.
Him “Without the victim their will be no investigation”
Me “As a police officer you know as well as I that a predator such as this, does not stop at one victim, and with the ease in which he did this to my friend she is most certainly not his first victim”
Him ” I realize that, still, without the victim coming in to the station no investigation will be started, unless more victims start piling up and coming forward”
Me “I find it very odd that if I were to call and say I suspected that someone was selling pot down the street from me, yet I had no evidence, your department would be there in a heartbeat and it would not have taken an hour to get someone to talk to me.”
Him ” That is just your perception mam” Then immediately he says that “Narcotics is different because it is a crime on face value, I know that may not make sense to you, but that is how it is”
So the police say they need a “victim” to launch an investigation, but no victim is needed for the countless investigations they launch into “crimes” where there is no victim at all. Shaun was right when she told the officer that they would be all over a report of drugs being sold. It would not be long before they set up surveillance, rooted through trash, talked to neighbors, and then led the inevitable SWAT raid into a family home. Or if Shaun had reported that she suspected prostitution, how long do you think it would be before a undercover Vice Squad was working the corner? But when a real crime has occurred and someone calls in with information about that crime, the police cannot even be bothered to write down the information and take a couple hours to follow up on it. How hard would have been for them to check to see if the information could be helpful in solving some other unsolved rape cases where a victim had come forward and did not have as much information? How hard would it have been to check with the cab company to see if they could identify a possible suspect and let that suspect know that they would be keeping an eye on him, maybe preventing him from doing the same thing to another young woman?
The inaction of the police in this particular type of situation comes down to incentives. The police have little incentive to solve actual crimes. They get paid whether or not they solve your crime or whether or not they follow up on your concerns. You are forced to pay for them whether or not you receive the service you expect. They have no competition so they do not have to worry about losing paying customers to other police services. They don’t even have to worry about being sued for not solving or preventing a crime since the courts have ruled time and time again that they have no responsibility to protect those who our forced to pay for their “services.”
While there is little incentive to solve or even prevent real crimes, there are incentives to arrest people when there is no victim. “Crimes” that generate revenue but not jail time help pay for the salaries and for the toys the police depend on for their continued existence. Jaywalking, not wearing a seat-belt, loud music, resisting arrest, obstruction, prostitution and drug possession all equal revenue with very little effort on the part of the police. They can use valuable resources on enforcing laws against these “crimes” even if it doesn’t help to keep their customers safe because they are not worried about losing those customers. Without the disincentive of losing customers, the incentive of easy revenue wins out.
How would this situation have played out different if we had private protection services instead of monopolized policing? Would Shaun’s call have been taken more seriously? Would the private protection company have acted on the information in one way or another? I believe that the answer is yes. At the very least they might have sent out an urgent letter or email to their customers encouraging them not to accept free rides from cab drivers. Or they might have sent out a letter or email urging other victims to come forward. They might have contacted the cab company in order to identify the suspect and then keep an eye on him. They would certainly have checked old cases to see if this new information could help solve a rape where the woman had come forward. They may have done any number of things in order to help keep their customers safe. Why? Because they do not depend on force for their funding. Competition would be their incentive. How many customers would they lose if the word got out that they had access to information but refused to write it down and then another woman was brutally attacked? And they would have to worry about the liability of not doing their best to protect their customers. A lawsuit by a victim of the same criminal they refused to even question would certainly cost them a lot of money.
Even without a victim seeking restitution, there would be plenty of incentive for a private protection service to act on the information that Shaun provided. Obviously the same can not be said for the Chicago PD.
Shaun Lee summed it up nicely:
The monopoly of violence and insinuated protection offered by the tax funded police departments, boils down to this, cash registers. The police departments all over this country are cash registers. This fact has become absolutely obvious with the proliferation of red light cameras. Now they do not even have to “walk the beat” to enforce a “law” and get your money. They have zero incentive without public pressure to take true victim-creating criminals off of the streets. It costs them money instead of making them money.
There is a better way. There is a woman who deserves to be vindicated. There is a rapist driving a cab in Chicago, who deserves to be taken off the streets.
A privatized protection system, would have incentive. They would NEED to please their customers. Unfortunately, for this young woman, that is not the case today. Lets put on the public pressure to give the Chicago PD incentive to investigate this horrendous crime.
Chicago Police Department Contact Information:
Sgt. Keller 312-744-5907