Vincent Richardson is the 14 year old who two weeks ago walked into a police station on the South Side dressed in a real Chicago Police Department uniform and reported for duty.
Now anyone reading this column should be outraged right now. Why? Because as a 14-year-old child, the news outlets should have used their common sense and not have allowed his name to be made public.
But even more than his name, which I understand his mother released to the press (still doesn’t mean that the press should have gone ahead and used it), but there is a photo of him taken while he sat in the lockup at the police department.
That photo was featured on the front page of the Chicago Sun-Times and is making the rounds over the Internet. Now that is a complete violation of a juvenile’s right to privacy.
So I’m going to start of by asking several questions. Our activist ministers always seem to find the time to go pray with the politicians whose adult behavior has gotten themselves in trouble. Where are they now that a child – obviously one who has some problems – has had his face and name plastered all over while a Chicago police officer can commit any crime against a citizen, and we never even learn the officer’s gender?
What about our politicians who staged a boycott and protest for more money for the Chicago Public Schools? Where are their voices in outrage when one of those students is being exploited?
If you want to know why young people see the older generation as hypocrites, one needs look no further than the case of Vincent Richardson. And I only use his name because it is already out there.
I don’t condone what he did. He put himself in danger. He exposed a huge security flaw in the practices or lack thereof at the CPD. He put the life of the officer he was assigned to patrol with at risk.
There can be no sicker feeling for any on-duty officer than to find out that for five hours the person who was assigned to work with you and have your back was a kid with newspaper stuffed in a pretend bullet proof vest and an empty holster for a gun.
But to see the headlines in the newspapers is to believe that Vincent is on the same page with some of the teenage kids who go and shoot up a school. The outrage from JFed, the nickname given to Jody Weis, our ex-FBI, $300,000-a-year-plus police superintendent, who never patrolled a city street in his entire life, was predictable.
He declared that heads would roll. Our mayor? As usual he puts the blame on others to deflect from any of us having a Kodak moment and remembering that he put Jody Weis in as head of the police department.
But whose fault is it really? Right now the finger pointing is starting from the bottom. The officer who rode with Vincent should have noticed he was a kid. The commander who allowed him on the street should have done something. And on and on. But what of our highly compensated police superintendent as well as the mayor? Shouldn’t the buck stop at the top?
After reading the latest news that Vincent is currently being held in a juvenile detention center, I couldn’t help juxtaposing his situation with another story in the paper that day of someone else who is “locked up” as well.
That is Flor Crisostomo, the illegal alien who is currently avoiding a deportation order by refusing to leave Adalberto United Methodist Church on West Division.
When you look at their situations side-by-side, both of them just wanted to work. Both of them were doing a job most of us don’t want to do. Both of them lied about their legal ability to work. Both of them don’t have driver’s licenses. Both of them are guilty of pretending to be something other than what they really are – one a CPD officer the other a U.S. citizen.
So why is one in custody and the other not? I thought Chicago is a sanctuary city – right?