CHICAGO — A Cook County judge has refused to seal an appalling photo that shows two Chicago Police Department officers holding rifles while posing over a black man wearing deer antlers.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, federal prosecutors provided the city of Chicago the Polaroid picture in 2013. The photo is believed to have been taken between 1999 and 2003 at a West Side facility.
The image shows two officers, Timothy McDermott and Jerome Finnigan, kneeling over the black man, whom the police department says is an “unidentified African-American drug suspect,” the Sun-Times reports.
The photo resulted in McDermott being fired from the police department last year, according to the report. But McDermott now wants his job back, and is appealing his dismissal in court.
The feds gave the city the photo in 2013 about two years after the other cop, Finnigan, was sentenced to 12 years in prison for “leading a crew of rogue cops in robberies, home invasions and other crimes,” according to the Sun-Times.
The report adds that though the CPD fired McDermott, attorneys for the department and McDermott both asked Judge Thomas Allen to seal the photo.
The police department said they were trying to seal the photo to protect the African-American man’s identity. But Allen denied their request back in March, and the Sun-Times recently obtained the photo. WGN also obtained the photo from the Office of the Cook County Clerk.
The Sun-Times reports when federal prosecutors initially confronted Finnigan with the photo, he said he and McDermott had arrested the man for having “20 bags of weed.”
They did not file an arrest report at the time.
The man wearing the antlers has not been identified, nor has the person who took the photo.
According to the Sun-Times, the next court hearing for McDermott’s appeal is scheduled for June 10. The judge is expected to make a ruling on that date.
Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy released a statement to WGN Wednesday that said:
“This picture is disgusting, and the despicable actions of these two former officers have no place in our police department or in our society. As the Superintendent of this department, and as a resident of our city, I will not tolerate this kind of behavior, and that is why neither of these officers works for CPD today. I fired one of the officers, and would have fired the other if he hadn’t already been fired by the time I found out about the picture. which is why I fired the officer involved as soon as I learned about photo. Our residents deserve better than this, as do the thousands of good men and women in this department.”