Black Chicago-area man fed up at runaround after firefighter held him at gunpoint while running errands
National attention is being drawn to the Chicago Police Department and Chicago Fire Department after revelations from CBS in that city that no charges are forthcoming for a city firefighter who pulled a gun on a Black man in August because he was running errands.
No one has been arrested or disciplined in the incident, two months after the victim reported it to authorities, CBS Chicago is reporting. Jermayne Smith tells CBS he is frustrated and fed up.
On Aug. 24, Jermayne Smith was running errands in suburban Bridgeport, Ill., when a man burst from a house, identified himself as a police officer, grabbed Smith and held him at gunpoint, according to CBS.
“He identified himself as a police officer and said, ‘Get on the ground. What are you doing in the neighborhood? Get on the ground before I shoot you,” Smith told CBS.
According to police radio recordings, the man, identified as “John,” claimed Smith was breaking into his vehicle.
“John’s calling in, caller says he has a gun and he caught a guy breaking into his vehicle,” according to the recording. “He’s holding him at that location. He’s got a concealed carry.”
Smith tells CBS that police arrived and handcuffed him, but then told Smith that there was a misunderstanding and let Smith and the man who contacted police go.
CBS 2 in Chicago identified the man as a firefighter.
Smith wants the man held accountable.
“If I did it, I would face punishment, so why shouldn’t he?” Smith told CBS.
Smith’s grandmother, identified as Brenda, told the news organization, “His life was threatened and his civil rights were violated.”
The Office and Emergency Management and Communications have denied CBS” efforts to obtain a transcript of the original 911 call, citing a “Chicago Fire Department open investigation.”
The Fire Department is volleying back to the police department, telling CBS they are “waiting for the outcome of the police investigation.”
The police department told CBS that “it’s now a COPA case,” which means it is allegedly being handled by the Civilian Office of Police Accountability.
The COPA office passed on responsibility too, telling CBS, “it is our understanding this incident is being investigated by the Office of the Inspector General.”
The hunt for accountability did not end there. The inspector general’s office told CBS that it is investigating but that this does not mean that police and fire authorities can’t investigate too.
“I just feel like they’re not taking it serious,” Smith said. “I feel like they think this is a game or that it’s going to go away eventually.”