EX-COP SAYS HE WAS PROSECUTED FOR BEATING ‘BECAUSE I’M BLACK’
“I DON’T USE THE RACECARD. . . BUT I HONESTLY FELT LIKE IWAS BEING DISCRIMINATED AGAINST.” ALDO BROWN, who was sentenced to two years in prison for beating a man during an arrest in 2012
Justice was turned upsidedown in the Aldo Brown case.
Brown, a former Chicago Police Department tactical officer, was sentenced last week to two years in prison for beating a man during an arrest in 2012.
The victim, Jecque Howard, had an illegal gun in his pocket and illegal drugs in his possession when he was arrested at the Omar Salma store in South Shore. There had been many nuisance complaints about the store before it was shut down.
Brown and his attorney, Dan Herbert, don’t know why the feds prosecuted Brown on civil rights violations.
The officer, who’s black, spoke with me Friday.
He pointed to several notorious cases of white police officers accused of killing unarmed blacks; those officers weren’t sent to prison.
“I don’t use the race card . . . but I honestly felt like I was being discriminated against,” he said.
“Anybody in law enforcement should have been able to look at that video and, after finding out the facts of the case, say this guy had a gun, this officer was in a threatening position, he had to do what he had to do to save his life,” Brown said. “But they just threw me under the bus.” The indict
ment is surprising, especially because advocates are still trying to get the feds to indict Dante Servin for the 2012 killing of Rekia Boyd.
Servin is the white police officer Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez charged with manslaughter for firing into a crowd, allegedly because he thought someone had a gun. After a bench trial, a judge acquitted Servin.
If Brown can go to prison for two years for excessive force when the suspect had a gun, then why would other cops aggressively pursue gun-toting criminals? A video— recorded by the store’s surveillance camera and then re-recorded by unknown persons and posted on YouTube — went viral.
A couple of days later, Brown and his partner were under investigation.
“I felt like they wanted to make me a fall guy, like the token guy who is going to answer up for all the things that’s been going on with the Police Department for years.”
When Brown walked into U.S. District Court nearly four years later to answer to the charges, there was no blue wall of officers showing support. In the interceding years, Eric
Garner hap- pened. Michael Brown happened. Sandra Bland happened. Tamir Rice happened.
“If I had been a white guy, somebody would have stood up and said, ‘We aren’t going to let you do him like that,’ ” Brown said. “A lot of officers should have spoken up. They knew it was wrong. Justice was not served in this case.”
After Brown was relieved of his duties, the gun charges against Howard got quietly dropped.
“I mean, if the FBI was really doing its job, don’t you think they would have went after a criminal who had a gun in a store?” Brown said.
How his case was handled could have an impact on policing in neighborhoods on the South Side and the West Side for years to come.
“It sends a terrible message to the community,” Brown said. “It sends a terrible message to the Police Department. The same thing that the community is complaining about and want justice for, the justice system is upholding.
“I’m a family man. My kids are on the honor roll. I’ve been in the military. I’ve done a good job all my life. I come from a tough community. I beat the odds. . . . Why would you take somebody like me and try to make an example out of me. For what?
“I have no reason but to feel that they did it because I’m black.”