Chicago, IL — In 2015, the Free Thought Project brought you the exclusive story of the whistleblower Chicago Police officer, Shannon Spalding who was retaliated against by her fellow cops for exposing corruption. Spalding and her partner Daniel Echeverria uncovered a massive level of corruption in their department, leading to the arrest of other officers. Being good cops got them threatened with "going home in a casket."Despite this case getting national attention, the Chicago police department appears to be behaving in the same manner once more.
“It’s no secret that if you go against the code of silence, and you report corruption, it will ruin your career,” Spalding said. And as the following case illustrates, she is right.
Sgt. Isaac Lambert is the latest victim of his fellow Chicago officers retaliating against him for refusing to cover up the shooting of 18-year-old Ricardo Hayes in 2017.
Lambert filed a whistleblower lawsuit against the city Monday because of the way he's been treated for being honest and courageous.
On Aug. 13, 2017, Hayes was shot by off-duty police Sgt. Khalil Muhammad. In the 911 recording, Muhammad can be heard telling the dispatcher that “the guy pulled, like he was about to pull a gun on me, walked up to the car and I had to shoot.”
But this was a lie. Hayes had no such gun and surveillance footage showed he was running away and Muhammad fired out of his window in a drive-by fashion.
As TFTP reported at the time, Hayes, who has autism, had somehow gotten out of his house that night and was lost. However, because he had the mental capacity of a child, his behavior seemed odd to the untrained officer.
As the video shows, Hayes stops in front of a home and stands there for a minute as
Muhammad approaches him in his unmarked personal vehicle. When Hayes begins to slowly move again, Muhammad opens fire from inside his truck and tries to kill the boy.
"Ricky wasn't doing anything wrong. He wasn't breaking any laws. He wasn't armed. He didn't initiate contact with this officer," said Gabriel Hardy, attorney for Ricky Hayes.
In his lawsuit, Lambert claims “the video reveals that the shooting was not justified and that [Hayes] never did anything to threaten Muhammad or give him any reason to shoot.”
Hayes attempted to tell his supervisors that Muhammad was unjustified in the shooting, but they are all corrupt and were hellbent on covering it up.
According to his lawsuit, “efforts were made by high-ranking officials in the Chicago Police Department to mischaracterize the findings of the investigation and change some of the conclusions.”
“The effort was made to make the shooting of Ricardo Hayes by Khalil Muhammad appear to be justified, when in fact it was not,” the lawsuit reads.
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For doing the right thing and choosing not to go along with a cover up, Lambert says he was demoted from the detective division and placed on patrol.
The Hamilton lawsuit is now suing the department on behalf of Lambert. This is the same law office who represented Lorenzo Davis—who was also retaliated against because he exposed too many killer cops.
As TFTP previously reported, the Chicago PD is the same department who has paid out many millions of taxpayer dollars in wrongful death suits for killing unarmed person after unarmed person. Despite the cops being found "guilty" in civil courts, only 2, in the last eight years were ever held accountable legally—out of 400 shootings.
Davis and Lambert tried to change that paradigm but they were snubbed out.
During his time at the Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA)—which is comprised mostly of former cops—Davis found six officers who shot people and were not justified.
"They have shot people dead when they did not have to shoot,” Davis said about those officers. “They were not in reasonable fear for their lives. The evidence shows that the officer knew, or should have known, that the person who they shot was not armed or did not pose a threat to them or could have been apprehended by means short of deadly force.”
Because he did not continue the status quo of rubber stamping every single police killing that came across his desk, Davis was retaliated against.
“Things began to turn sour, I would say, within the last year,” Davis said at the time. “Chief Administrator Ando began to say that he wanted me to change my findings.”
According to Davis, he was told to reverse his findings and declare the six cases he found to be unjustified, justified. However, he resisted, and on July 9, 2015, Davis was fired.
Unfortunately, this type of response to good cops, who try to call out corruption in their department is the rule, not the exception.
Previously, the Free Thought Project brought you the story of Laura Schook, who tried to call out corruption in her department. Naturally they tried to run her through the mud and fire her.
Also, we broke the story of a cop in Buffalo, NY who was beaten and fired after she stopped a fellow cop from nearly killing a handcuffed man.
In Kentucky, a sheriff’s deputy was fired for “insubordination” after pointing out that the sheriff had planted drugs in another deputy’s car. Even though the sheriff was indicted, the deputy was still fired.
In September 2015, we exposed the Baltimore police department’s attempt to intimidate a whistleblower officer. Detective Joe Crystal became a target of intimidation for his entire department after testifying against other officers in a misconduct case. Following his testimony, he received threats from other officers, and even found dead rats on him and his wife's cars.
The thin blue line, it seems, is akin to the mafia; cross it and you will be snubbed out by the rest of the gang.