Last night S & I saw a man in a wheelchair, obviously destitute, wheeling himself backward (with one foot, the other was elevated) across the middle of Division Street. A CPD officer was sort of following him across, talking to him, seeing him safely across, we thought. Until the cop told the wheelchair guy to "roll yourself all the way to Cabrini" and tossed a large cup of water at him.
Man's inhumanity to man: A person who's supposed "to serve and protect" going out of his way to humiliate. The only thing that made me feel slightly less sick about the whole thing was the obvious anger and shock other people on the sidewalk were clearly feeling.
I restrained myself from saying something to the cop. (He was too far away to see a badge number, and he didn't go back to a police car, just joined his fellow officers about a half a block away to crudely joke about the whole thing. And why didn't any of them say, "hey man, take it easy," or something?) It made me feel like a fucking coward, afraid to call out an officer of the law for acting like a street hood. But cops can turn on you. And Chicago cops, well...I've heard some violent stories. I was afraid I'd be detained on some trumped-up charge, or even hurt.
Yeah. Land of the free, right? Land of the intimidated, more like.
I feel ashamed for standing by and doing nothing. I should have said something to the cop, gone to get his badge number, something, anything, damn the consequences. I even feel a bit ashamed for writing about it here - as if I'm looking for validation on my inaction. But I had to get my thoughts out, and also this is the only way I could think of after the fact, too late, to do something. To bear witness and record it, at least.