Cops, What Are They Good For?

Chicago police officer listening to Rhymequest -- (Twitter screen grab).

Chicago police officer listening to Rhymequest — (Twitter screen grab).

A Chicago rapper who was held up at gunpoint in the early morning hours attempted to file a police report — only to have desk officers blow him off and then tell him to leave when he became aggravated about their lack of interest, reports the Chicago Tribune.

In a video clip posted to Twitter under the comment, “You wonder we don’t report crimes? The police treated me disgustingly,” rapper Rhymefest (real name Che Smith) is heard attempting to get a desk officer to take his report only to have her tell him to get out.


As Rhymefest began recording the encounter — after first trying to make a report — the desk officer shut him down, telling him, “First of all, you’re in a police station, you can’t do that,” indicating his filming.

When he protested, she told him, “No, you gotta go,” and got up and walked away forcing the rapper to address another officer leaning on the counter who interjected, “a supervisor asked you to leave.”

Pleading, “What information do you need. I would like to give you that information and report that I was robbed this morning,” Rhymefest was asked to “quiet down” as he tried to fill in the details.

According to the rapper, a man hopped into his car and held a gun to his head before taking his wallet and fleeing.

But he added that he had another problem: how he was treated by the desk cop when he tried to file a complaint.

“When I walked through the door, and she asked me what was wrong, she kept eating, she kept playing Candy Crush –” only to be cut off by the officer who didn’t want to hear it and requested that he quit filming the encounter.

“Sir, I don’t feel comfortable because I feel like I’m being treated. When the camera goes off, you all start telling me to get out, I can’t make a report,” he replied.

“We’re not going to play that kind of game,” Rhymefest was told, leading him to repeat his story again.

“They put a gun to my head,” he patiently explained. “They demanded that I give them my wallet. I gave them my wallet. They told me they were going to shoot me. They ran. The first thing I did was come here to the police station, sir.”

Instead of taking down the information, Rhymefest was asked why he chose that particular station, only to have to repeat the story once more before adding, “All I want to do is make a report that I was robbed. I don’t expect that you all are go and find the person, but I do want to make a report.”

According to the Tribune, Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi issued an apology to the rapper, saying, “We are disappointed with what we’ve seen and how Mr. Smith was treated, and the chief of patrol called him personally to apologize on behalf of the department. On behalf of CPD, I apologize for how you were treated.”

This is absolutely absurd, and absolutely infuriating. Here you have someone who has done everything they are supposed to do, done everything the cops say you should do, and look what happens? I am not in the least surprised by all the reports about Chicago police being generally awful about everything.

Via Raw Story.


  1. says

    “They put a gun to my head,” he patiently explained. “They demanded that I give them my wallet. I gave them my wallet. They told me they were going to shoot me. They ran. The first thing I did was come here to the police station, sir.”

    Because only more bad lazy people with guns can help you when you’ve got to deal with a bad person with a gun.

  2. says

    I remember a summer in 1995 when my thenspouse and I were shaken down at gunpoint crossing the bridge in Baltimore between Mount Royal Avenue and Lanvale. The guy was pretty disorganized and settled for the paper contents of my wallet, then ran off toward North Avenue. I followed him at a distance until I saw a cop parked by a convenience store, and ran over and explained what happened, etc. I pointed to the guy, who was receeding down the street. And the cop told me that they were from a different precinct and they couldn’t do anything and she couldn’t take me in the car because of regulations and besides the guy had a gun and I should just be glad I only lost $60 and then she rolled up the window, put the car in gear, and drove off.

    I guess that was my privilege showing. I expected/assumed the cop would do something for me. If I were a person of color and hammered on the window of one of Baltimore’s lazy and violent, I’d have probably died in a hail of bullets.

    I know it’s one incident but experiences like Rhymefest’s are what form public perceptions -- especially when they go out and tell the story. I told my story to lots of people, including the Baltimore Sun (which, of course, didn’t mention it)

    The privileged part of me nearly posted something snarky about customer service but then I realized that, basically, what the cop told me was that I wasn’t her customer. And, at that time, I wasn’t. When I could afford to, I moved out to the country and my city taxes went with me.

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