Chicago’s police superintendent said on Thursday that one of his officers has been seriously injured because cops now hesitate to use their weapons over fear of public backlash, the Chicago Tribune reports.
The newspaper reported that the officer, who has 17 years on the force, scuffled at an accident site with a man suspected of being under the influence of PCP on Wednesday. He slammed the officer’s face against the pavement, repeatedly, leaving her unconscious.
Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson spoke about the incident at a ceremony to honor the bravery of police officers and firefighters:
“As I was at the hospital last night, visiting with her, she looked at me and said she thought she was gonna die, and she knew that she should shoot this guy, but she chose not to because she didn’t want her family or the department to go through the scrutiny the next day on national news.”
The Chicago Sun Times said Mayor Rahm Emanuel has tried to “coax” his police department from being defensive. Some have blamed this “laying back” for contributing to an increase in gun violence across the city.
Chicago’s police have been under a national spotlight since the U.S. Department of Justice launched a probe in December 2015 into the department’s practices. It came on the heels of the release of a video showing a possible cover up in the police involved killing of Laquan McDonald, as well as widespread complaints about the excessive use of force.
Johnson said he didn’t know if his officer’s reluctance to use her weapon is an example of laying back.
“But, that’s an example of how dangerous this job is. And because of the scrutiny going on nationwide, it does make officers second-guess themselves. And that’s what we don’t want them to do,” the superintendent stated, according to The Sun Times.