It wasn't long ago that McHenry County Sheriff Keith Nygren said there was no racial profiling by deputies of his department. And that was after he had said it at least once before that. The second time was after an "investigation" had revealed no profiling.
There isn't? Ask Chicago Tribune reporters Bob McCoppin and Joe Mahr, who wrote a long article about just this topic this week-end. You can read it at www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-met-mchenry-profiling-20110326,0,1864956.story And read other stories about the thousands of tickets finally produced for a federal lawsuit by the Department after requests and delays - tickets with errors about race.
Now, you ask yourself. How would you classify the race of three men from the Chicago Tribune story? They are men with brown skin who spoke Spanish and were from Mexico, according to jail records. Their names are Pedro Lopez, Jose Salas and Pablo Toxqui-Zavala.
Hispanic or white? Not too hard, right?
McHenry County Sheriff's deputies identified them as "white". Agree?
How could that happen? It might have something to do with a phone call I received a while back, when I was told that, at roll call, patrol deputies had been told to "just mark everyone down as white".
The Tribune reporters did an in-depth study. The article is worth reading. So is a second article.
The headline for the second story is "Whistle-blower or not?" This one is about Zane Seipler, a deputy who had complained to his supervisor about what looked to him like racial profiling. Following the chain-is-command is what you do in a law enforcement agency. And you had better follow it! If you don't, you find yourself patrolling the night shift at the stockyards or out in Dogpatch. Of course, McHenry County doesn't have stockyards.
In Zane's case he was fired for something that other deputies had gotten three-day suspensions over. I'd say he is about to get his job back. An arbitrator ruled that a three-day suspension was appropriate discipline. A McHenry County Circuit Court judge agreed. The sheriff didn't like either decision and has appealed the case further. Motions are being submitted, hearings are or will be scheduled. Eventually, the appellate judges will rule. Will Zane get his job back then, along with back pay all the way back to 2008?
This second story is at www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-met-mchenry-profiling-side-seipler20110326,0,5192467.story