‘They’re Cops; They’re Going to Beat You’

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When the victim of a criminal assault dials 911 for help, what happens if police are the assailants?

Chicago residents Matthew Clark (a Ph.D. lecturer at the University of Chicago) and Gregory Malandrucco (who is finishing his Ph.D.) can answer that question: The cops who respond to the call will eagerly join the fray on the side of the attackers.

After finishing a meal at a Mexican restaurant last February 6, Clark and Malandrucco were suddenly shoved out of the way by a large, aggressive male. The assailant was offended that Malandrucco had taken a moment to put on his coat.

When Clark and Malandrucco exited the restaurant, they were accosted by the same ill-tempered lout and two associates — one male, one female — who cursed and threatened them. They would later learn that these three truculent people, who took inconsolable offense over a momentary delay at the cash register, were off-duty undercover police officers.

Puzzled by the hostility, Clark and Malandrucco tried to defuse the situation peacefully.

“We don’t want any trouble,” Clark told them. “Let’s just shake hands and calm down and everybody’ll go home. No problem.”

By way of reply, one of the antagonists punched Clark repeatedly in the face and threw him to the ground — an assault captured by a local security camera.

“As I was laying down and getting punched, this woman that was with them is telling me, `Quit resisting. They’re cops. They’re going to beat you,’” Clark later recalled.

This was not a demand that Clark submit to an “arrest” (which in this case would have been a simple abduction). Rather, it was a candid statement of criminal intentions, coupled with a demand that the victim simply remain still and passively absorb whatever abuse the aggressor saw fit to inflict on him.

When Malandrucco tried to intervene, he was beaten as well. This divided the assailants’ attention long enough to permit Clark to dial 911 — which, as is almost always the case, made matters considerably worse.

At least three uniformed officers arrived in marked cars. Clark, who by this time was bleeding profusely from his face, “begged” the uniformed cops to help.

They were eager to lend a hand — that is, a fist, as well as a knee and a foot — to the perpetrators: As summarized in a lawsuit filed by the victims, one of the officers “switched places with the plainclothes officer who was on top of Mr. Malandrucco, holding him down and striking him in the process.” Another kicked and kneed the prone, bleeding, and helpless man.

After Malandrucco was left unconscious, the uniformed police turned their attention to Clark.

“They took a look at me,” Clark recounted to a local CBS affiliate. “I was covered in blood. I said `Please help me. Are you going to do anything to these guys? Are you going to help us?’ They said `We’re not going to do anything to these guys. You need to go home and forget about it.’ And they left the scene.”

In a sense, Clark and Malandrucco — both of whom had been beaten unconscious — were fortunate, since neither was arrested and charged with “aggravated assault” and “resisting arrest,” which is what usually happens when an innocent citizen uses his face to assault the sanctified fists of a police officer.

Rosa Torres, manager of the restaurant where the assault took place, told both police investigators and the local CBS affiliate that “nothing happened” inside the restaurant to provoke or precipitate the incident.

The absence of charges against the victims in this incident underscores the fact this was an undisguised act of criminal violence carried out by a wolf pack of tax-subsidized street criminals.

9:26 am on March 25, 2010
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