Given the choice between the police and the media...

…I’ll go with the rank-and-file cops any day.

This has been a notoriously violent summer in my adopted hometown of Chicago. Between so-called “flash mobs” robbing businesses blind (including two on the tony Magnificent Mile downtown), beaches having to be closed because of gang assaults and a multiple shootings almost every night, I’m beginning to think I was safer back in my first-ever apartment in Inglewood, CA (situated smack dab between Compton and Watts in Los Angeles, just to be clear).

Needless to say, I was hardly blinked an eye when this made the local news yesterday morning:

Chicago police shot and wounded a 13-year-old boy who one official said was holding a BB gun, the second police-involved shooting of the night.

No officers were injured in the shooting at roughly 11 p.m. in the 1000 block of North Kedvale Avenue in the West Humboldt Park neighborhood on the West Side, authorities said.

Now, as is so often the case in officer-involved shootings, Chicago Police maintain the suspect was ordered to drop his weapon, and was shot when he failed to comply, and the suspect’s family (to include anyone on the street a TV news crew happens to run into) insist he was completely innocent, and had no weapon at all.

These incidents have occurred so frequently lately, I ordinarily pay little attention to them. But, something about the family’s story just seemed a little too “Bonfire of the Vanities” for me:

His parents identified the boy as Jimmell Cannon. They said he is a “straight A, B student” about to enter 7th grade at Piccolo Specialty School and who was out last night to celebrate a cousin’s birthday in a park area near the school.

Andrea McClay, who said she was among the group celebrating and saw the shooting, told WGN-TV that Jimmell [was just] “a 13-year-old innocent child just having fun in the park.”

Jimmell's picture, as run by the local news

The whole, “straight A, B student” thing, delivered as fact without any confirmation, gave me a reason to check out one of my favorite local blogs, Second City Cop, who not surprisingly, posted the picture of future valedictorian Jimmell Cannon without edit:

See what I see?

Yeah, that’s a gang sign little Jimmell is “throwing up” there. Specifically, a Vice Lord sign, one of the largest organized crime organizations in America, which began, of course, here in Chicago.

I’m not ready to conclude that little Jimmell Cannon isn’t a “straight A, B student,” or that he indeed had a weapon which could reasonably have been mistaken for a far more dangerous threat to officers. I’m not even going to conclude that he is, in fact, a gangbanger. What I am going to conclude however, is that Chicago’s local media wasn’t the least bit interested in telling this city the truth about this matter, preferring to either err on the side of political correctness, or to needlessly and irresponsibly incite animosity toward the incredibly brave men and women of the Chicago Police Department who were doing their damn job in this instance, which also happened to be less than a mile from my own home.

Good job, Chicago news media. Way to go.