Hero cop Dominick Izzo witnessed such expansive corruption in his department, he shattered the notorious Blue Wall of Silence to blow the whistle, but — like nearly all officers who break ranks attempting to hold bad cops accountable — found himself the subject of false allegations and under suspension for the effort.
Now — after earning the scorn of Round Lake Park, Illinois, Police Chief George Filenko and other officers stridently loyal to the Thin Blue Line — Izzo has come forward again to set the record straight about alternative media outlets who report on police misconduct.
Naming The Free Thought Project, Police the Police, End the Drug War, and others in a recent live video on Facebook, Izzo emphatically asserted,
“They’re not anti-cop. They are anti-bullshit — anti-illegal behavior.”
Izzo’s followers, comprised primarily of current and former law enforcement officers — some supportive, some more loyal to the badge than the imperative to call out misbehavior lurking behind it — harbor misperceptions about factual reporting on incidents of police misconduct.
While seemingly countless officers brutalize, shoot, and even kill with reckless indiscretion — and under near impunity, given the paltry rate of conviction for legitimate misconduct — accurate media coverage still comes under fire by cops who’d like to the the Boys In Blue can do no wrong.
Izzo addresses fellow officers in the video — particularly those willing to step over the Thin Blue Line as he did — imploring them to understand so-called “anti-cop” forums like The Free Thought Project are simply mischaracterized and are supportive of anyone in law enforcement holding wrongdoers accountable.
Izzo believes accurate reporting on police misconduct and the occupation of law enforcement are not mutually exclusive.
“This is a chance for us to bridge the gap and show the great cops out there who can’t speak,” he said, referring to good cops unable to come forward for fear of reprisal. “And for those of you cops who are so frustrated, who have been emailing me about your frustrations, guys, I’m doing what I can for ya. I’m going to go to bat for you and I’m going to do what I can, when I can.
“So, I appreciate your pain; trust me, I know it. I’m living it, and I know it.”
After publicly condemning the Round Lake Park chief and department — and resisting intimidation and threats that followed — Izzo has become something of a police folk hero across the country, as officers in similar situations and those considering speaking out flooded him with correspondence.
When a cop like Izzo has the courage to speak out — damn the consequences — the brave act can be contagious, encouraging more to do the same.
But Izzo — who once earned an award for disarming a knife wielding, would-be attacker without firing a single shot — didn’t stop with truth-telling about alternative media. He addressed egregious law enforcement mishandling of an incident captured on video that went viral this week.
On Wednesday, a Fort Worth mother called police after her seven-year-old son was allegedly assaulted by a neighbor who claimed the child had littered — but she wound up under arrest, along with two of her daughters, when the cop showed up and blatantly sided with the man who’d supposedly carried out the assault.
Jacqueline Craig summoned the cops after the neighbor allegedly began choking her son for refusing to pick up a piece of trash he’d allegedly tossed on the ground. While, indeed, littering is wrong, assaulting a child is a violent crime.
But that didn’t matter to the responding officer.
In fact, the first words out of the callously indifferent cop’s mouth when he arrived on scene were, “Why don’t you teach your son not to litter?”
“It doesn’t matter if he did or didn’t. It doesn’t give him the right to put his hands on him,” Craig replies.
“Why not?” the officer indignantly asks.
Infuriated at the notion littering is somehow a more abhorrent infraction than an adult choking her son, Craig begins yelling at the cop.
But the officer, who seemingly never had any intention of investigating the actual possible crime that brought him to the scene, then worsens the situation, telling the mother, “if you keep yelling at me you’re going to piss me off and I’m going to take you to jail.”
As one of Craig’s daughters tries to de-escalate the rapidly deteriorating situation, all hell abruptly breaks loose — and the cop apparently takes Craig to the ground, places her in cuffs, and eventually does the same with two of her daughters.
That officer has now been placed on restricted duty while the department performs and investigation — and, as Izzo explains, the cop made one grievous error in handling the call.
“Look, if you’re a cop — and I’ve done it, we’ve all done it — that famous line, ‘Your mouth is about to get you arrested,’” Izzo explains, “you cannot say that, or any variance of [it].
“In the video — I don’t care how edited it was, I don’t care how non-edited it was. I don’t care how loud that woman is. I don’t care if she’s black and the other guy’s white and he’s chokin’ her kid out. I don’t care what it is.
“That cop just lost every leg he wanted to stand on when he said that he’s about to bring her to jail because she’s yelling at him. It is a violation of her free speech. You can not take someone to jail for what they say.”
As Izzo notes, there exists no legal grounds for arresting anyone for yelling at an officer — and the officer thus wholly violated a constitutionally-protected right by threatening and then arresting her for exactly that. Accordingly, Izzo pleads,
“Please. Do not defend this cop. I don’t care how righteous his actions may have looked [on] unedited video … The moment he said ‘Your yelling is pissing me off’” and threatened to bring her to jail, he overstepped the line.
“He’s not a professional,” Izzo says. “He does not deserve to do this job.”
The whistle-blowing officer concludes his live video with a thank you to alternative media outlets who “support what we do. Because we’re going to bridge the gap between the public we serve and the amazing cops out there who do serve them — who aren’t getting recognized.”
Such outlets, Izzo reiterates, “are here to help. And we can. We can do this together.”