Top cop McCarthy clears way for slain officer to be buried with her badge
BY FRAN SPIELMAN City Hall Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org November 8, 2011 2:54PM
COPY PHOTO Chicago police officer Hester Scott.
Updated: December 10, 2011 9:52AM
Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy on Tuesday ordered the badge posthumously restored to a Chicago Police officer allegedly murdered by her grandson.
That means slain Officer Hester Scott can be buried with her police star.
After a personal plea from the police union, McCarthy made the decision to return the police star stripped from Scott in 2007 after she was accused of abuse by the grandson now charged with her murder.
“Officer Scott’s star will be returned for her funeral,” Police Department spokeswoman Sarah Hamilton wrote in an e-mail to the Chicago Sun-Times.
Pressed to explain why, Hamilton wrote, “Officer Scott was a 25-year veteran of this department and a murder victim, and the superintendent felt this was the right thing to do for her and her family.”
Fraternal Order of Police President Mike Shields said he discussed the tragic case with McCarthy on Monday and got a text message late Tuesday to say it was a “done deal.”
Before McCarthy stepped in, FOP attorneys were prepared to argue that the star should be returned because, as Shields put it, “The person making these false allegations is the actual murderer.”
Shields said it’s inexcusable that the Independent Police Review Authority would take four years to lift a cloud over the officer’s head.
Scott remained in the callback section, even after the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services investigated, then dismissed her grandson’s abuse allegations.
“Unfortunately, this situation is not unique. There are many officers who have been falsely accused of allegations who sit in limbo for years when they could be patrolling the streets. The criminal history of the complainant does not bear a significant impact on IPRA as it should,” he said.
“This officer could have easily been back on patrol policing the streets. But, IPRA drags cases on and places police officers in limbo for eternity.”
Ilana Rosenzweig, IPRA’s newly-reappointed chief administrator, could not be reached for comment.
Earlier, Mayor Rahm Emanuel refused to comment on the specifics of Scott’s case. But he, too, is concerned about the time it takes IPRA to conclude its investigations of alleged police wrongdoing.
“We will have a more regular report on where cases are and the frequency in which they get heard, so people can get clarity and certainty around their individual cases. ... We’re putting in place right now a process so there’s not a backlog of police cases [and] people can have their careers [back] and move on,” he said.
Apparently referring to Scott’s murder, Emanuel said, “I want you to know that, prior to this, I was already speaking to this point [with] a number of the alderman about how to handle it and have better reporting so there’s an accountability and an oversight that is necessary. ... I want to address the general point about somebody waiting for four years.”
Last Friday, Scott was stabbed to death after allegedly confronting her 15-year-old grandson about falling asleep watching TV and skipping classes at Gwendolyn Brooks College Prep.
Keshawn Perkins has been charged with first-degree murder and armed robbery. Enraged by his grandmother’s demands, Perkins allegedly hit Scott in the head with a lamp “until she shut up,” then stabbed her repeatedly with a kitchen knife, prosecutors said.
Two bloody kitchen knives were recovered from the basement of Scott’s home in the 8800 block of South Wallace. Perkins allegedly told police where he had dumped his grandmother’s body and hidden his own bloody clothes.
Scott was a mother of two who had adopted Keshawn and his three siblings seven years ago after her drug-addicted daughter’s children were taken into foster care because she could no longer care for them.