The Chicago Sun-Times
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Three Chicago Police officers ran away when a fellow officer was struggling for his life with an armed man in a Dominick's store on the South Side, officials said Wednesday.
Two of the fleeing officers were about 10 months into their 18-month probationary period before they could have become full-fledged officers with union benefits.
Those female officers -- called PPOs in cop parlance -- have been fired by police Supt. Phil Cline.
"After reviewing the evidence, it was clear to me that the two PPOs didn't do what they were trained to do, and they put the officer in peril," Cline said.
A third male officer, whose probation ended about three months ago, faces a departmental investigation and possible termination, too.
CAPTURED ON SECURITY CAMERA
Cline can fire probationary officers at will, but full-fledged officers have extensive due-process rights.
The incident was captured on a Dominick's security camera and was reviewed by department officials.
The videotape may be used to show recruits at the police academy what officers should never do.
But recruits also could learn from the heroic performance of the officer who struggled alone with the gunman, sources said.
It is very unusual for officers -- whether they are probationary or full time -- to face disciplinary action for cowardice, sources said.
But such allegations are almost never captured on videotape, they said.
The four Grand Crossing District officers were responding to a shoplifting call at 10:30 p.m. on June 3 at a Dominick's in the 2100 block of East 71st.
James King, 47, of Park Forest, started fighting in the store with a male officer who was trying to arrest him for sneaking out with stolen goods, police said. The officer had one handcuff on King when he struggled to break free, police said.
King removed a 9mm pistol from his pants pocket and pointed the weapon at the officer, who then fatally shot King, officials said. An investigation found that the officer, who has been on the force about four years, had followed department rules on using deadly force. The department did not identify that officer.
NOT WHAT COPS ARE TRAINED TO DO
Assistant Deputy Supt. Matthew Tobias, who runs the Police Department's training academy, would not discuss the incident.
But he spoke generally about what officers are trained to do.
"When they have the means to take appropriate action, they are not taught to turn their back and run away," Tobias said.
"If you have the means and knowledge to protect citizens or other officers, you are expected to take action -- and will be held accountable when you do not take action."
Two Ill. cops fired for cowardice