So, a guy died yesterday.
He pretty much washed ashore at Montrose Beach. The Tribune says he was “found floating.”
He repeatedly seized on the beach. Convulsing. Breathing, it seemed. Or not. It’s awkward, trying to tell if someone’s breathing or just trying their damnedest to.
The blood frothing from his mouth came from his lungs, mixed with nibbles of his own tongue.
Everyone did the best they could, as far as we can tell. He vomited as he lay there, we’re told. The usual things that drowning people do.
Ambulance #6 showed up and did their best. There really aren’t any better than Ambo 6. When they roll up to you, it’s either gonna be your best day ever….or your worst.
It would be his worst.
They took him to Weiss Hospital, which is not a particularly good sign for those in the know.
He died. There.
The stupid thing—and by stupid thing we mean “Chicago thing”—is that no police officer ever showed up at the beach.
In fact, no police officer actually took on the man’s case until nearly an hour after he died.
Oh, don’t us wrong. Dispatchers tried to assign the drowning call around 2 p.m. But every 19th District cop was tied up, assigned to other duties–like watching the mayor’s house.
This may strike you as odd, but while that man was dying on the sand, there were seven cops doing essentially nothing in the same police district. Two were assigned to sit in front of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s house at 4228 N. Hermitage. Another two were committed to sitting in the back of the mayor’s house. Another two were assigned to a roving car that circles the mayor’s home. And the seventh was the sergeant in charge of the mayor’s castle guard.
So, who cares?
Meh. He drowned, right? 99% chance that we’re right on that guess.
But the 1% is why we have a police department.
A police department to make sure that the guy didn’t get socked in the face and fall down into the water to drown.
A police department to make sure that someone wasn’t trying to drown him when he died.
A police department to make sure that if he just happened to get hit by a boat or tossed into the water, the responsible parties would be held accountable.
Yeah. He drowned. He blah blah blah whatever the paperwork will say. But no cops ever showed up to gather the stories of the people who saw what happened.
He deserved better.
Since 2011, the 19th District which serves Montrose Beach and much of Uptown, Lakeview, North Center, and Lincoln Park, has lost 105 police officers. That’s 105 fewer cops to help when help is needed. And since last September, when the mayor promised to hire 1,000 new cops, the number of officers in the district has actually dropped, not risen.