Video Catches Top Chicago DWI Cop in a Lie

Friday, March 13th, 2009

A Chicago police officer who has won praise for having among the most DWI arrests in the city is now under investigation for lying about one of his stops.

The video from top DUI cop Joe D. Parker’s squad car shows a man walking a straight line, without stumbling or flailing his arms.

But Parker, a Chicago Police officer who has won acclaim for being among the leading DUI enforcers in the state, told a different story in his police report.

He wrote that Raymond L. Bell lost his balance and used his arms to steady himself. And he arrested the 33-year-old Oak Lawn man on charges of driving under the influence, speeding and negligent driving.

Now, after reviewing the squad-car video, Cook County prosecutors have dropped the July 2008 charges against Bell.

Parker is the second top Chicago DWI cop to get caught lying. The city had to drop 156 DWI cases after Officer John Haleas was caught lying about one of them. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Parker himself was arrested for drunk driving in 1996. The charge was later dropped.

I’ve written before about the problems with the use of boilerplate on DWI reports. The story also reinforces the importance of video to check against police misconduct.

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24 Responses to “Video Catches Top Chicago DWI Cop in a Lie”

  1. #1 |  JS | 

    What motivates them to falsely charge people in the first place? Do they get some kind of pay raise or some award to do so? This just shows again that our police are out of control and don’t scruple at all over ruining people’s lives just to promote themselves. I wonder how other people are in jail or on long costly probations because they got Nifonged by Parker.

  2. #2 |  Chance | 

    Not only did he falsely accuse the man, he did so despite presumably knowing there was a video record of the event. So either the officer is 1. Dumb as a rock or 2. Had reason to believe the video would disappear. I guess these aren’t mutually exclusive, but still…

    You libertarian types need to start infiltrating the police forces more often, and have and “inside man” so to speak.

  3. #3 |  Aresen | 

    Chance # 2
    You libertarian types need to start infiltrating the police forces more often, and have and “inside man” so to speak.

    I think our “Free Ryan Frederick” buttons would give us away.

  4. #4 |  William | 

    JS: what they get is attention from the brass and the media. They get a record with a lot of productive arrests. They get the admiration of their fellow officers. That counts the next time they’re up for a promotion.

  5. #5 |  Michael Pack | 

    This is what happens when the law allows subjective ‘evidence’ rather than actual danger or harm.The legal limit is so low people are in danger of arrest for just one beer.

  6. #6 |  Michael Pack | 

    I forgot,many places pay overtime for court.A officer with many D.U.I arrests can earn quite a bit.

  7. #7 |  A.G. Pym | 

    re #6:

    So, false DUIs or any other citations are just an “enhanced revenue stream” for officers?

    With cities pulling the same stunt openly with red light cameras, it makes perfect sense. After all, as Stamper said, “. . . they make them.” –AG

  8. #8 |  nobahdi | 

    Why do prosecutions go forward with subjective evidence anyway? If a person is charged with DWI and does take a breathalyzer test (or blows under the leal limit) then the case should be thrown out.

  9. #9 |  JS | 

    “JS: what they get is attention from the brass and the media. They get a record with a lot of productive arrests. They get the admiration of their fellow officers. That counts the next time they’re up for a promotion.”

    Thanks William. What a culture-peer pressure to ruin people’s lives.

  10. #10 |  Brandon Bowers | 

    Nobahdi: The police are infallible bastions of justice, and would never lie just to pad their statistics. That’s why anyone who’s accused of a crime by a cop is always guilty, and any time someone is acquitted it’s because of some stupid technicality and a bleeding heart judge who loves letting criminals back onto the street. And if a cop does lie, it’s only to get drug-crazed hippies off the street where they can no longer pose a danger to themselves and the children, so it’s for the greater good. I’m surprised some badgelicker hasn’t filled you in on these details yet.

  11. #11 |  Eric | 

    It’s already been covered, but in addition to “justice hero lifesaver of the year” awards they get sweet sweet overtime going to court. It’s an easy supplemental income. The City doesn’t care because the DWI costs and fees are still a nice net revenue source.

  12. #12 |  StopSnitchin | 

    This is a database of salaries, overtime, and court appearance money for Buffalo police. They can more than double their salary with OT and court appearances, as mentioned above by others:

    http://www.buffalonews.com/314/story/293735.html?appSession=68276990649231&RecordID=&PageID=2&PrevPageID=2&cpipage=1&CPIsortType=asc&CPIorderby=Total_pay

    Chicago defense lawyers say there are two reasons police officers might cut corners or even lie to boost their DUI arrest numbers: First, they stand to profit from the resulting overtime for going to court on the cases; also, there are accolades to be had. Both Parker and Haleas have been named “top cops” by the Schaumburg-based Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists for having more DUI arrests than almost any other officer in the Chicago area. Hahaha! I wonder if the “Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists” feels stoopid.

  13. #13 |  MacK | 

    I would suggest that all of you visit duiblog for much more information on just how close MADD, and others have taken us to alcohol prohibition again.

    Duiblog is an eye opening experience for for what you think you know about DUI.

    Here is a good recent example:

    It is illegal to arrest a member of the Colorado General Assembly going to, or returning home from a legislative session.

    If a cop stops them because they can’t drive for shit he can ticket them, but then has to provide transportation for them to get to work, or home, but still can’t arrest.

    If they are so drunk they get in an accident the cop can ticket them, and yes you guessed it get them a ride, but still no arrest.

    Now when they go to court will they lose on DUI? Hell no! There will be nothing showing they were drunk, no breathalyzer, no video of them doing stupid balancing acts, just a ticket showing they crossed a yellow line, or had a fender bender.

    Ahh it is good to be the king, or least one of his men.

  14. #14 |  MacK | 

    Here is a quote on my last post taken from the Denver Police Department Operations Manual:
    “In the absence of felony violations, should an officer have reason to believe a legislator is driving under the influence, the officer may cite for a violation which caused an accident or was the reason for a traffic stop. For the safety and welfare of the public and the legislator, the officer will arrange for other transportation for the legislator and his/her vehicle will be parked and locked.”

  15. #15 |  Nick T | 

    Guys don’t forget the best motivating factor for police officers everywhere: they just knew this guy was guilty of something.

    See officers are specially selected super-human-robot-peoples who activvely deploy their “gut” and their “instincts” to “feel out” criminal activity. Evidence is something for lesser creatures like judges and lawyers and that old paper-thingy to worry about. I am reminded of Henry Rollins’ camera-mugging patrolman character in “The Chase,” police are really “street prophets” who keep us all safe in ways that we can’t imagine and stupid-ass “evidence” will never show. Trust me, this stone-cold sober dude driving all staright and walking with perfect balance was inevitably going to rape a child or kill an old lady. Do not question it!

  16. #16 |  Dave Krueger | 

    Back in the 70s and 80s, everyone lost confidence in the quality of American cars. It became commonly assumed that to get a good car, you had to get a foreign car. So, Detroit immediately started a crusade to turn that perception around, but now, 25 years later, the attitude about American cards still persists.

    As more cops are caught lying, juries will eventually stop thinking of cops and unbiased truthful witnesses. Then, even if the cops and prosecutors immediately go on a crash program to restore public confidence, it will take decades. And that will hurt the honest cops and screw up legitimate prosecutions.

  17. #17 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    DUI is the only crime where cops get kudos for mega-arrests.
    News at 11: 100 people nabbed in DUI checkpoint.
    WHat about the conviction rate? Was it 100% 50% or 3 %?
    Cops rubberstamp evidence . The litany:
    “glassy eyes, unsteady, strong odor of alcoholic beverage, etc”
    Now you understand how this video thing happened.
    Stormtrooper cops.

  18. #18 |  ShelbyC | 

    Don’t forget, for a cop do double his income from overtime earned by testifying, his arrests have to go to trial. This means he has to arrest alot of innocent or questionably quilty people, because the guilty ones plead out.

  19. #19 |  WarHorse1961 | 

    I’d like to know why he isn’t being charged with false arrest under color of law?

  20. #20 |  Bob | 

    Post 19: Warhorse1961:
    “I’d like to know why he isn’t being charged with false arrest under color of law?”

    Because the color of law protects him?

    Only the State can decide to prosecute, and cops work for the state. As such, cops are almost never prosecuted.

  21. #21 |  Michael Chaney | 

    As I understand it in my home state of Indiana (and being too lazy to look it up), the reason that legislators cannot be arrested while on the way to official duty is because there was a situation where someone attempted to change a legislative vote by arresting certain key legislators for spurious charges while they were on their way to vote. Either that, or someone recognized the possibility.

    I actually agree with such laws. While they are often abused by legislators, the possibility for far worse abuse if they can be arrested seems tangible. We should know that around here when we see people arrested for “resisting arrest”.

  22. #22 |  Rob Robertson | 

    The story says that “Parker, who joined the department in 1985, could not be reached for comment”, and yet earlier in the article it says that “Parker has been placed on desk duty while the Chicago Police Department conducts an investigation of his DUI arrests”.

    How hard is it to find a guy sitting at a desk? Man, that’s some hard-hitting investigative journalism, right there.

  23. #23 |  MacGregory | 

    neo-MADD: strangely silent here. Can’t find a way to spin this, eh?

  24. #24 |  Dr X | 

    Why do this?

    In addition to the recognition, Chicago cops get lots of very easy overtime going to court.

    What isn’t stated in the story, but what has been subtly suggested in some of the accounts, is that this cop may have been deliberately picking out vehicles driven by gangbagers–the assessment based on race and type of vehicle.

    As for video evidence, the police here are often able to bury it unless one has the cash for a very aggressive, persistent attorney.

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