Take 2


Chicago Sun-Times - - FRONT PAGE - MARY MITCHELL @MaryMitchel­lCST Email: marym@sun­times.com

“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.”

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