A Chicago police officer who was savagely beaten at a car accident scene this week did not draw her gun on her attacker–even though she feared for her life–because she was afraid of the media attention that would come if she shot him, the city’s police chief said Thursday.
Chicago Police Department Superintendent Eddie Johnson said the officer, a 17-year veteran of the force, knew she should shoot the attacker but hesitated because “she didn’t want her family or the department to go through the scrutiny the next day on the national news,” the Chicago Tribune reported.
In Chicago, which has experienced record numbers of homicides this year, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has blamed the surge in violent crime on officers balking during confrontations, saying they have become “fetal” because they don’t want to be prosecuted or fired for their actions.
According to Johnson, the 43-year-old officer, who has not been identified, was responding to a car crash Wednesday when a 28-year-old man who was involved in the accident struck her in the face, then repeatedly smashed her head against the pavement until she passed out. He said the attack went on for several minutes and that two others officers were injured as they tried to pull the suspect away, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. The suspect was on PCP, he said, and was finally subdued after officers Tasered and pepper sprayed him.
Johnson said he visited the officer in the hospital, where she told him why she did not draw her service weapon during the attack.
“She looked at me and said she thought she was going to die,” he told the audience at the awards ceremony. “And she knew that she should shoot this guy. But she chose not to because she didn’t want her family or the department to have to go through the scrutiny the next day on national news.”