The photo is problematic, to put it lightly, and the Chicago Police Department reportedly wasn’t too keen on the public seeing it, but a Cook County judge refused to keep the photo sealed, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.
The image in question shows two white officers—Jerome Finnigan and Timothy McDermott—in plain clothes holding hunting rifles and posing with a black suspect who is lying on his stomach with his tongue stuck out, his eyes rolled upward and deer antlers on his head.
According to the Sun-Times, the photo is believed to have been taken in a West Side police station sometime between 1999 and 2003. Federal prosecutors turned the photo over to the city in 2013, which ultimately resulted in McDermott’s firing in 2014 on a police-board vote of 5-4. Majority voters declared that “appearing to treat an African-American man not as a human being but as a hunted animal is disgraceful and shocks the conscience.”
McDermott is appealing his termination, according to the news site. His lawyer, as well as lawyers for the Police Department, had requested that the photo be kept sealed, claiming that they wanted to protect the privacy of the unidentified suspect. Judge Thomas Allen, however, refused.
In 2011, two years before the photo surfaced, Finnigan was sentenced to 12 years for leading rogue cops in robberies, home invasions and other crimes, the Sun-Times reports.
Police Supt. Garry McCarthy, who moved to have McDermott fired, slammed the photo as “disgusting.”
“The despicable actions of these two former officers have no place in our police department or in our society. As the superintendent of this department, and as a resident of our city, I will not tolerate this kind of behavior, and that is why neither of these officers works for CPD today,” McCarthy said in a blistering statement to the news site. “I fired one of the officers and would have fired the other if he hadn’t already been fired by the time I found out about the picture. Our residents deserve better than this, as do the thousands of good men and women in this department.”
Read more at the Chicago Sun-Times.