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by Peter Moskos

September 30, 2009

"Help us get others"

So says Chicago Police Supt. Jody Weiss. The Sun-Times reports. The police chief asking a bunch of high-school students to snitch? That'll go over well.

The sad part, at least to me, is that if it weren't for the video, this would have been just another death in the hood. Another dead black kid, little reported and quickly forgotten. And some people, myself included, would have assumed that Derrion himself was partly to blame, getting himself into this mess.


Robert Boyd said...

Perversely, it would be slightly comforting to be able to feel that Derrion had, as you say, somehow gotten himself into the mess. The reason is that it is easier for us to understand the motivations when there is a beef or some kind involved, even as we deplore the crime. As it is, his murderers are utter incomprehensible (to me at least)--frightening random evil men.

Anonymous said...

What is ultimately behind the reluctance to "snitch", especially when it comes to these serious crimes? I can understand minor things such as pot.

Is it widespread distrust of police, even amongst the law abiding?

Is it apathy? "Who cares they're all gangsters and they're all gonna end up dead anyway, so why should I stick my neck out."

Is it witness intimidation? If so, are there any type of witness protection programs available at the local level?


From Canada

PCM said...

I think the answers are yes, yes, and yes.

Anonymous said...

What about witness protection programs?

From Canada

PCM said...

Expensive, impractical, and most witnesses don't want it. Would you want to testify *and* move into a Motel 6 on the outskirts of town?

Marc S. said...

"And some people, myself included, would have assumed that Derrion himself was partly to blame, getting himself into this mess."

Frankly, Peter, i'm shocked! He was a college-bound honor student who loved his grandmother and Jesus. He was merely out distributing bibles and food to the needy. (insert additional character testimony i've heard on shooting scenes here)

PCM said...

I appreciate your sarcasm (seriously). But my feeling (maybe I've been out of the P.D. too long) is that this kid wasn't really wasn't involved. He got cold-cocked. Maybe he didn't love Jesus, but he was an honors student. And we was going home from school. From the video, it doesn't look like he was involved in the fight at all.

Poor guy gets killed for a fight that wasn't his business. Sometimes that really does happen.

Anonymous said...

HA get ready for more beatings Chicago PD IF any one sticks there neck out. People are not stupid get real. I do feel sorry for the guy but I highly doubt that anyone is going to turn them in. I am sure they are all aware of what happens to snitches and the PD just wants there men they are not worried about the tormenet snitches and there families go thru until is done and they have a crime to solve on there hands.

Anonymous said...

People who don't snitch deserve what they get: a shitty place to live in that won't care about them when they're the next victim. Enjoy, folks!

If there was all of this gang violence at the school week after week, where were the police in anticipation of the next outbreak?

This would never have gone on for as long as it did if the problem was in NYC. I defy people to find the last time a kid was beaten to death with blunt trauma in NYC. If you start a vicious street melee cops are seconds away, coming to kick your ass.

In comparison, Chicago comes off like a third-world police force. Where are you now, Ron Huberman?!?!?

Anonymous said...

My point is that there are people would like to tell the truth are probably afraid of what will happen to them and there family from retaliation. Would you tell if that put you and your familys life in danger?

The police will continue to have a problem with getting witness to talk until there is a system in place which is practical. I dont have any answers to that .....I dont think anyone does But it is foolish for the Chicago PD to expect someone to come forward because they made an announcement.

Best just to sit and wait until the one suspect that was caught wants to reduce his charges and he will sing like a bird.