Monday, October 15, 2007

Chicago Officer Sylvia Broadway Claims Ban On Associating With Felons is Discriminatory -Topic by Ron


Officer Sylvia Broadway, an African-American Chicago Police officer, claims Rule 47, barring cops from associating with criminals discriminates against black officers. (Rule 47 bars association with one convicted of a misdemeanor or felony.)
Is the rule more restrictive on black officers because of the disproportionate number of African Americans have criminal records? Officer Sylvia Broadway may have violated department rules when she allowed a convicted felon drive her car. Officer Broadway, a 13-year veteran, says she was unaware the man had a criminal record. Broadway responded to the allegations that Rule 47 "... is a deliberate trap has been set for African-American police officers."
(8.4 percent of all black males ages 25 to 29 were in the U.S. prison population, according to a 2004 Bureau of Justice Statistics report, compared with 2.5 percent of Hispanic males that age, and 1.2 percent of white males.)
Broadway is not the first to have allegedly violated the rule.
In 1997, police Supt. Matt Rodriguez retired perhaps because of his association with an ex-con, telling reporters: "I didn't look on him as Frank the felon. He was a friend."
In 2006, former Chicago Police Cmdr. Michael Acosta was sentenced to five months in prison after stealing $4,000 earmarked for honoring police officers. Recordings similarly revealed a close relationship between Acosta and convicted felon John "Quarters" Boyle .

Fraternal Order of Police President Mark Donahue does not have a problem with Rule 47. "The FOP has accepted Rule 47," he said.

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

I agree. Someone should be able to pick their friends not who their employer thinks should be their friends.

Ms. Calabaza said...

Quick! Call Jessie, call Al!

Blond Bombshell said...

I don't think it is discrimination at all!

Shell

Anonymous said...

Nope, don't see it. Sorry.

BTW, why would anybody wnat to hangout with a dirtbag?

L.S.

Anonymous said...

Not all criminals are dirt bags. LOok at Kim Cooper, she is a lot of fun at parties and weddings...

Ron said...

This rule seems related to the job, based on my reading of it, which is OK.

The discrimination charge lacks merit, because it uses prison statistics, and infers that people only associate with people of their own race.

The difficult thing for me to understand is how would you know if your friends have a criminal background, unless you do a background check on them using police records? Is that what you have to do if you work for the Chicago Police?

L.S., I am curious if other departments have rules like this, or if you can hang around all the ex-cons you want?

RIcky said...

I work for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and we, too, have similar rules barring employees from associating from individuals that are still on parole or probation. Both considered still being under the control of TDCJ. I hear the argument from people frequently about it being a racist rule; however, I agree with Ron: The rule assumes that people only associate with people of their own race.

Maybe Officer Broadway should become more open minded and accept friendships outside her race?

Ricky said...

My mistake... the officers argument assumes that people only associate with people of their own race.

Legal Pub said...

Some excellent points by Ricky, Ron and L.S. Good question for L.S. as an officer do you do background checks on your friends? If so, do you tell them you are checking them out?

To some extent, Lawyers may have the opportunity to do some background investigation on those they date.Lawyers tend to have access to court records and know how to perform some basic background checks involving public records. As a parent, one may be tempted to do some investigation on those dating one's daughter; however, there are certain legal limitations on some background checks, such as credit checks.

But the question remains, how would an officer know that the person they are socializing with has a criminal record?

Anonymous said...

No, not background checks…just social checks. I hang out with cops and lawyers mostly….imagine that! If there not part of that 1st group, they’re normally introduced by those people. My other social groups are from martial arts, church, firearm competitors, etc…professional people with attachments and commitments to society…students working hard to position themselves in society such that they will have something to lose…but there are just no guarantees.

The primary way I screen the people I associate with is the first time you show an asocial tendency or a tolerance for criminal behavior is the last time. I won’t ever again associate with you or recommend you to anyone. Goodbye.

And I would never knowingly associate with any of the criminal element.

Nobody’s perfect. But a concerted effort to keep the trash out of your life will probably yield better associates than not caring at all.

BTW, if it was for dating purposes…yes, a criminal background would be in order!

As for the right of cops to associate with criminals….there’s a 1st Amendment right of association outstanding. Best to get them to agree to such restrictions prior to extension of the job offer than to unilaterally attempt to impose it later. Going to be much harder.

L.S.

Legal Pub said...

Good points, L.S. I would be interested in Ricky giving us a little more of the Texas perspective.

In Chicago, Rule 47 is pretty much written in stone according to the officers who will talk about out it on the record.

Ricky said...

The Texas policy, summarized in the application for employment reads:

"TDCJ employees are prohibited from continuing or establishing a relationship with an offender or an offender’s family member, if the relationship jeopardizes or has the potential to jeopardize the security of the Agency or compromises the effectiveness of the employee. Prohibited relationships include those involving cohabitation, sexual misconduct or actions that jeopardize or have the potential to jeopardize the security of the Agency. This means that employees may not have personal contact or relationships with offenders currently incarcerated or on parole outside of their official duties if this contact or relationship would jeopardize or has the potential to jeopardize the security of the Agency. Prohibited contact includes living together, writing letters or notes, telephone contact, visitation and depositing funds into an offender’s trust fund. If an employee had a child together with an offender, employee contact with the offender or offender’s family may be limited to that which is necessary to foster a relationship with the child. As a condition of employment with TDCJ, employees with prohibited relationships must sever those relationships. Sever means to cease any and all cohabitation, intimate encounters, verbal or written communications, visitation and other prohibited contact. Continuation of a prohibited relationship after employment with TDCJ may result in dismissal from employment if a determination is made by the Agency that the relationship jeopardizes or has the potential to jeopardize the security of the Agency."

You can also see http://www.tdcj.state.tx.us/vacancy/hr-policy/pd-22excerpt.pdf
Find Rule No. 42 which is very detailed. This rule is not uncommon among law enforcement agencies.

To be honest, "jeopardizes or has the potential to jeopardize the security of the Agency" will always be to the determination of someone, so it's a good practice to not associate with people who you know are on parole.

The rule also says, "continuing" a relationship which I understand to mean that if you have a friend who becomes incarcerated and then paroled, you may be expected to end that relationship; however, it does not apply to family or a marriage that existed prior to employment.

I don't know, I make it a personal practice to not associate with people like that because I usually don't find anything they have to offer worthwhile myself.

Ron said...

This rule in Chicago sounds like it is not unusual, has a foundation which is sound, and should be OK, and not discriminatory, in my non-legal opinion.

Great input from Ricky and L.S.

Legal Pub said...

Ricky, excellent first two posts. Hope you become a regular like L.S. who is a contributing officer/attorney. This thread was read by many so the hope is some additional views can be shared by officers who are against the rule.

Anonymous said...

Plain and simple the rule has a disparate impact on minorities since minorities have higher statistical crime rates.


Brad

Ricky said...

Thanks Legal Pub. I have a blog as well, I would love for you to check out. ScoopThis.Org

Anonymous, it is not the fault of the individual law enforcement agencies that minorities commit more crimes. This rule is in place to protect law enforcement. If officers are permitted to associate with anyone regardless of their criminal past, people begin to question the credibility of the agency that allows it.

Simple solution: If it matters to someone, don't become a police officer in a department with a similar policy.

yolanda said...

Oh Ricky, that is not a fair solution. In fact, it is an illegal solution. An Employer can not have a rule which has a disparate impact on a race. For example, an employer can not say we will hire no one who has a higher statistical chance of getting sickle cell. Even though it may save on health insurance costs, the effect of the rule would be to prevent blacks from being employed.

Get real!

By the way, cool photo of the old boys club!


Yolanda

Rommie said...

It's just another way that da man tries to keep minorities in their place. Rules like this are discriminatory and need to be seen for what they are...


Rommie

Anonymous said...

You are so right Rommie. We see through that crap.

Anonymous said...

Its 2007! Cops don't discriminate anymore.

Anonymous said...

Now days, the administration does not discriminate, it just dislikes everyone!

Anonymous said...

Discrimination may not be intentional, but it is there!

Anonymous said...

Even if it is not illegal, it is not fair!

Anonymous said...

Boo. Hoo.

Rommie said...

Cops need to be screened on their mental and physical fitness for the job, not their choice of friends or their race.

Rommie

Anonymous said...

Cops should be able to pick and choose their friends like any other adult...

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Legal Eagle 3 said...

Sylvia and the Chicago cops deserve better than spam about a dating site. Wait til you spammers get your bill for advertising.

Legal Pub said...

Spammers will be billed for advertising!

Anonymous said...

I am cpd. this broad is crazy. How in the name of God would this be discrimination? I see nowhere in the rule it stating (this only applies to black officers). I thought CPD screened people. Unreal.