About 10 years ago I accepted a contract to ghost write the confessional life story of a self-described corrupt Chicago cop.
I spent dozens of hours interviewing and recording him. The stories were hard to take. From his tales of shaking down local business people to sexually abusing vulnerable sex workers, to his own story of having been sexually abused by a cop as a youth, I left each interview session needing a long hot shower.
It was really his stories of intentional violence that got me, though. He described exactly how expert he and many of his colleagues were at perpetrating violence where they knew it could not be documented.
Even 10 years ago he observed that the growing proliferation of cell phones and cameras was going to cause big problems for cops.
He didn’t say violent cops or corrupt cops, by the way; he just said cops.
He was eventually fired, but it had nothing to do with all the invisible wounds he administered or helped administer.
I finished the book, and while it was far too self indulgent for him to find a publisher, I’ve never forgotten those stories.
I’ve never forgotten the casual and constant violence he described. I hate the idea of cameras on every corner too. But after interviewing this cop, I’m really torn.