April 26, 2011. Chicago. Three days after Mayor Daley replaced outsider Jody Weis as Chicago's top cop with the old guard's Terry Hillard, the residents of Chicago were reminded of exactly what the 'old guard' stood for...and why they demanded its removal.
Last month, Chicagoans were told they'd have to pay $3 million to the victim of one of the city's most disgusting and notorious acts of police brutality and its immediate cover-up. Unarmed 23 year old Michael Pleasance was shot in the face and killed at point blank range by Chicago police officer Alvin Weems. The incident occurred on Saturday, March 8, 2003 inside the crowded 95th Street Red Line CTA station.
According to officer Weems and all police documents from City Hall on down, Pleasance was one of a half dozen violent assailants who had surrounded the lone officer Weems and attacked him. When Mr. Pleasance threatened the officer's life, officer Weems was finally forced to draw his weapon. When Michael Pleasance lunged at the officer, swung at him with a closed fist and attempted to take Weems' gun, officer Weems was forced to shoot Pleasance once in the face from a distance of no more than two inches. Michael Pleasance died on the spot.
Standard procedure required that the footage from the CTA's multiple security cameras be viewed to verify officer Weems' story. After viewing the incident from multiple camera angles, responding officers and Area 2 police detectives officially reported that Pleasance was the assailant and that he attempted to disarm officer Weems.
The footage of the murder was also viewed by the Assistant Deputy Superintendent of Police who confirmed that Pleasance had lunged at Weems and violently attacked the officer. The day after the murder, a CPD spokesman announced that after viewing the security footage, officer Weems had actually been attacked by 7 individuals and the murder of Michael Pleasance was a justifiable homicide.
The only problem is - that's not at all what really happened on that cold March day in 2003.
If you're over 18 and don't mind seeing an innocent man have his head blown off live on your computer monitor, you MUST view the Chicago Reader's YouTube video of the actual CTA security camera footage of the incident. Titled, 'Killed on Camera', the video clearly shows Michael Pleasance standing harmlessly next to officer Weems when the police officer raises his revolver and shoots him in the face at point blank range. The ten minute documenary also includes the names of Chicago officials who executed the cover-up. Also, read the article from the Chicago Reader detailing the incident.
According to the actual security footage, there were no assailants, only victims. There weren't 7 individuals, only 2. Nobody lunged, swung at or attempted to take the officer's weapon, causing him to draw his pistol. The officer had his pistol in-hand the whole time, including his entire journey through the CTA terminal looking for the commotion. It also shows the officer not in uniform, without his badge, wearing only street clothes and arriving to an incident where he is supposed to be posted, but instead is arriving late for work. The footage shows officer Weems looking for his partner who was also supposed to be on duty at the time. His partner wasn't there because he too was late for work.
The incident was referred to Chicago's Office of Professional Standards where they announced 10 charges against officer Weems, including lieing, misusing his weapon, bringing discredit upon the Department and being late for work at the moment of the shooting. The OPS recommended his immediate termination.
Instead, City Hall only authorized a 30-day suspension for officer Weems. In 2005, Police Superintendent Phil Cline promoted Weems to Detective. Even after the findings by the Office of Professional Standards were public knowledge, Superintendent Cline was still peddling the same discredited lie. Finally, 8 long years later, the residents of Chicago get to pay for yet another instance of corruption and the horrific acts of the criminals it protects and rewards.
Many Chicagoans quickly forgot why an 'outsider' like Jody Weis was hired away from the FBI to be Chicago's Police Superintendent. Drowned out by the outraged demands of the police department's 'rank and file' for an 'inside' guy, time will tell if Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel will choose to honor his commitment to 'reform' and name another outsider. Or if he'll force Chicago to return to the days of the 'old guard' - the days of corruption, cover-ups and murder.
*Breaking News 5/8/11. The police officer at the center of this incident was found in his home, shot to death. An official cause of death is pending. Read about it here - Crooked Chicago Cop Found Dead.