A recent report on the Chicago Police Department added new meaning to the word “trolling.” For many, the term refers to online provocateurs who specialize in name-calling and making incendiary remarks. But trolling by CPD officers is another matter entirely.
Police trolling refers to a Chicago police officer who makes a traffic stop or an arrest for disorderly conduct at the end of their work shift, precisely so that the officer has a reason for overtime (and increased pay). According to Chicago’s Inspector General, these trolling arrests escalate “a situation which could have been within the officer’s discretion to dismiss.”
The report makes it clear that trolling CPD officers subject city residents to needless arrests that cost taxpayers hard-earned money and do not improve safety. A recent op-ed column in the Sun-Times makes an additional point about trolling: “For Chicagoans of color, these additional contacts with law enforcement jeopardize not only liberty, but may jeopardize life itself.”
The Inspector General also noted that CPD refuses to acknowledge trolling and other abuses of police power, putting up yet another roadblock on the path to real reform of the department, the op-ed states.
The columnist notes as well that CPD has for decades engaged in troubling practices (especially on the South and West sides) in which officers routinely “instigate and escalate unnecessary encounters with residents.”
The point of trolling is not to improve safety, but rather to improve the finances of the officers involved. A good starting point for reform, the column states, is for CPD to acknowledge the trolling problem and then to address it by correcting practices and preventing officers from doing it in the future.
In that way, Chicago residents can begin to regain confidence that when an arrest is made, it is for legitimate reasons and not to pad police pockets.
If you have been falsely accused of a serious crime by a Chicago police officer, contact The Law Offices of Darryl A. Goldberg at 773-793-3196 to talk over your legal options.