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Chicago police conclude officer justified in pulling gun on state senator

September 02, 2005
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Chicago police conclude officer justified in pulling gun on state senator

By Don Babwin, Associated Press Writer

CHICAGO- A white police sergeant who pointed a gun at a black state senator during a traffic stop should not have used profanity but otherwise acted properly, Chicago Police Superintendent Philip Cline said Thursday.

Cline said the sergeant was reprimanded for using profanity during the July 13 incident, but that he was justified in pulling his gun because State Sen. James Meeks twice ignored orders to stop approaching and return to his vehicle.

Meeks, the minister of a megachurch on the city's South Side and head of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus, disputed Cline's version of events.

The sergeant "did not tell me two times" to stop approaching, Meeks said at a news conference. "He started with profanity and his weapon drawn from the moment I got out of the car."

Meeks also reiterated his contention that he was a victim of racial profiling. He said the stop was triggered in part because the car his driver was operating is popular with blacks "and he went around the police and the police didn't like it and the police stopped him. End of story."

Cline said the department's investigation determined that the sergeant pulled the car over because he witnessed a traffic violation.

Meeks said he would push for legislation to create a civilian review board to investigate such allegations rather than leaving it to the police themselves.

He said he also will push for the police department to equip all its squad cars with cameras, a suggestion Cline said the department is exploring.

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