Chicago, IL — On Chicago’s South Side lies the community of Bridgeport. In 2012, a Bridgeport man named Andy was doing great things to help the children in the community.
Using his personal savings and having zero help from the government, Andy opened a community outreach center that would give local children a place to go, and much more.
“Forty to fifty kids a day come here. Basically, all the kids know that this is their spot,” Andy said.
Using his own money, Andy would feed the children free meals, provide activities for them during the summer, and provided a safe place for kids to hang out.
This heartfelt and marvelous creation was named Andy’s Candyland.
“Since school started, I came here every day. And, since summer vacation, I came here every day,” says one of the many children who benefited from Andy’s kindness.
All this activity eventually got the attention of a local artist who immediately grabbed his camera and started to make a short film to help Andy raise the funds he needed to keep the store open.
The very same day that artist Benn Jordan would begin making a film to help Andy raise money would sadly be the last day Andy’s Candyland would be open — thanks to the Chicago PD.
Andy was also active in promoting peace in his neighborhood.
Earlier that day a man was shot and killed as he waited in line for a hotdog and another nearby, so that night, Andy invited multiple local gang members over to promote peace between them. The Chicago cops did not want this to happen.
Later that night, multiple cops, without a warrant, broke down the door to Andy’s Candyland. The money Andy and his girlfriend had raised earlier that day through a yard sale was stolen by the police as they ransacked the building.
When seeing the commotion, Jordan grabbed his camera and immediately went down to the shop. As Andy was explaining what happened on camera, the police showed back up.
“Hey, you can’t – you can’t record us,” said one of the officers as they violated the 1st Amendment right of Jordan. Jordan complies with the officers’ requests to put the camera down, but he left it recording.
“Thirty f**king gang members in here after hours is a fool. I’d have put a bullet in all of them,” says the cop bragging about his ability to immediately gun down dozens of people, because he could.
When Andy asks the cops about the money they stole from him earlier, he’s told that since he was trying to bring peace to the neighborhood, that he doesn’t get his money back.
“That’s what you deal with for siding earlier,” says the uniformed thug, implying that he has a right to steal from people who try to help their community.
Then, in a scene that would be fitting for a Hollywood movie about corrupt cops, Andy was immediately evicted and told to grab what he could from his building and never come back.
“I couldn’t for the life of me even begin to understand why this happens. Why was the entire police district harassing this man a mere block away from a double homicide of a young man that occurred less than 20 hours ago?” asks Jordan. “Do police really brag about shooting gang members? And, did they really expect a community outreach program to pay them protection money?”
Jordan goes on to explain the unfortunate reality of police corruption in Chicago.
“The reason I’m telling this story,” says Jordan, “because tomorrow morning none of this will be a surprise to the locals. I’ve heard far more stories about people being robbed by law enforcement here than being robbed by gang members.”
“To everyone here, it’s just another day in hardscrabble Chicago.”
Sadly, Andy’s Candyland never reopened, and the scores of children whose lives were improved by the help they received from this selfless couple were now left on their own again thanks to Chicago’s finest.
Corruption among Chicago police is rampant. It’s so bad that when the good cops attempt to point it out, they are fired and some have had their lives threatened.
In January, the Free Thought Project reported on the whistleblowers from the Chicago police department whose very lives were threatened for trying to expose the corruption in their department.
As Shannon Spalding, one of the whistleblowers from the CPD points out, this blue code of silence and punishment is already an unfortunate reality for most.
“It’s no secret that if you go against the code of silence, and you report corruption, it will ruin your career,” Spalding said.
In the meantime, however, police are stealing from children’s charities and preventing the much-needed outreach to promote peace between Chicago’s rival gangs.