10/13/2006

Tape shows Ill. crack seller pulls gun on undercover cop

Annie Sweeney
The Chicago Sun-Times
Copyright 2006 Chicago Sun-Times, Inc.
All Rights Reserved 

It was routine haggling over money at an undercover crack cocaine buy, the kind of thing he'd done more than 500 times during his 16 years as a Chicago Police officer.

Then the dealer pulled a gun, got in the officer's car and waved the weapon, almost calmly, at him.

VIDEO SHOWS DANGER

"Right there, it's all yours,'' the officer immediately said in an agitated but easy voice as he dropped $500 on the seat, while the suspect, identified as Donyell "L'il D" Mayhew, pointed the .380-caliber handgun at the officer's head.

The confrontation during a Chicago Police drug investigation last month ended safely when the officer told Mayhew he'd walk and got out of the car. Police officials released footage of the confrontation Thursday to highlight dangers undercover officers face. Over the past 18 months, three have been shot. Five were victims of attempted robberies. One was beaten; another had a gun held to his head.

'I WAS VERY SCARED'

Officials said the violence may be tied to the dismantling of gang-run drug corners, which the department has been working on for five years. When a corner is shut down, up to 20 people are rounded up, leaving the gang's structure shaky and often without a strong leader. "The stronger the gang leader is, the less violence there is," said Narcotics and Gang Deputy Chief Michael Cronin.

Cronin credited the officer in last month's incident. "The last thing you want to say is 'I'm the police'. He couldn't have acted any better."

The robbery was videotaped from inside the car and also caught on audiotape. Mayhew was arrested.

"It completely caught me by surprise,'' the officer said Thursday. ". . . I was very scared.''

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