*Oops! This photo wasn’t supposed to see the light of day.
The approximate debut of the Polaroid was sometime between 1999 and 2003. And it may have been taken at a West Side Chicago police station.
The photo depicts two officers, Timothy McDermott and Jerome Finnigan posing with rifles, as a black man lies in between them, all gussied up to resemble an animal.
As you can see, the hand of the cop on the right (McDermott), is on the man’s neck, and his tongue is out.
The detainee remains unidentified, but records say he was arrested for marijuana, but then released due to lack of evidence.
Naw, this photo wasn’t suppose to be seen by the public.
But then along came this judge from Cook County, who obviously disagreed.
The City of Chicago got the picture from the feds in 2013. And based on a 5-to-4 vote by the police board, who obviously weren’t amused, McDermott, said to be a clout-heavy cop, was fired as a result.
While some said McDermott should only have been suspended, the majority of the board wrote that “appearing to treat an African-American man not as a human being but as a hunted animal is disgraceful and shocks the conscience.”
Kudos to those board members, huh!?
But McDermott, who blames his decision to pose for the picture on being young, immature and stupid while trying to “fit in” is not taking the decision lightly; and he is now appealing the dismissal in court.
Police Supt. Garry McCarthy and attorneys for the police department had asked Judge Thomas Allen to keep the photo on lockdown earlier this year; under the guise of “protecting the unidentified man.”
But their request was denied by the judge in March, and subsequently, the Sun-Times got their hands on a copy of the photo in the court file.
When McDermott was interviewed about the picture by Sgt. Michael Barz of internal affairs in June 2013, he told him,
“I do remember an incident where I took a photo with Finnigan and it appears that this is it,” McDermott said in a transcript of the interview. “Finnigan called me over, told me to get in the picture and I sat in the picture. The photo was taken, and I went back to the business I was doing that day.”
McDermott said he could not remember when or where the photo was taken, or anything about the man with the antlers.
“I am embarrassed by my participation in this photograph,” he said. “I made a mistake as a young, impressionable police officer who was trying to fit in.”
Incidentally, Finnigan, the other cop in the photo, was sentenced to 12 years in prison in 2011, for leading a crew of rogue cops in robberies, home invasions and other crimes.
When the feds confronted Finnigan with the photo, he told them he and McDermott had arrested the African-American man for having “20 bags of weed.” He also said it was the man who had provided them with the rifles, according to court records.
Wouldn’t it be something if the “man in the middle” suddenly appeared to identify himself?
For more on this interesting debacle, visit Chicago Sun Times.