Man robbed by police is told it didn't happen

July 07, 1995|By MIKE ROYKO

For Joe Loudd, there was good news and bad news.

The bad news first:

"Well, I got a letter today from the CHA telling me they don't think nothin' happened."

Joe, 55, was talking about his complaint that the Chicago Housing Authority police grabbed him in a lobby of a Robert Taylor Homes building as part of what was supposed to be a random drug sweep.

But instead, Joe says, one of the cops was sweeping was whatever money he could grab.

And Joe says that the cop took $150 -- his rent money -- then charged Joe with disorderly conduct.

"I still don't know what I did that was so disorderly. I go walking in the building to visit my friend. He's another old disabled guy like me."

Joe has a metal plate in his neck as a result of surgery for a degenerative disc disease. He lives in housing for the elderly near the Taylor Homes.

"Then these cops, waving their guns around, make me kneel down against the wall with these other folks. Then they take my money and they haul me off to the police station and make me sit around there most of the night.

"Then they say I am charged with disorderly conduct. What's so disorderly about goin' to visit a friend?

"After I told you what happened, this investigator comes to see me. He seemed like a nice guy. I was in the Marines for four years when I was young, and he was in the Navy and we talked about that.

"But then he says he likes to know all about the people he's talking to. He takes out an old police photo and asks if that was me. It was me, but at first I couldn't even tell 'cause it was more than 20 years old.

"I got arrested back then for disorderly or something like that and he questions me about it.

"Well, he did such a good job of finding that old picture and stuff I did more than 20, 30 years ago, that I figured he'd sure be able to check out the stuff I told him about the CHA cop stealin' my money.

"Then this letter comes and it got these things in big letters and it says: 'CANNOT BE SUSTAINED.'

"It says, 'This does not mean, however, that we have dismissed your allegations as untrue. It means that we were unable to uncover or acquire sufficient evidence for a sustained finding. . .' "

Joe laughed. "Doggone, they can go into my background all the way to when I was a teen-ager. But they can't find all those people who were right next to me when all our money got taken.

"Now I got to go to court, and they might put me in jail."

No, the charge will surely be dropped, since charging someone with disorderly conduct is a cop's way of being wrong, but never having to say he is sorry.

Now for the good news.

"There's some real nice people out there. After you wrote about me, I got a call from this guy and he invited me to have dinner.

"You know where that dinner was? It was in that Swissotel, way up on like the 42nd or 43rd floor.

"This guy who invited me, he was the buffet captain, but he was a real regular guy, a working stiff.

"I went by myself because I didn't have no one to take with me, but the buffet captain sat and talked to me while I had dinner.

"It was really something. They kept giving you new plates every time you had something. And I had a little bit of everything.

"I had prime rib and then I had seafood. They had salmon and all kinds of seafood cooked all kinds of ways. I never saw foods like that before.

"And a lady called me and I went downtown to her office and we had coffee and a nice chat, and she helped me out with my rent.

"I got nice phone calls from a lot of people. I just got my check, and I'm going to get some of those thank-you cards and let them know I'll never forget them and how much I appreciate it.

"Oh, and there was this one woman, called me all the way from Sacramento in California, and she said a prayer for me on the phone. And we had a nice talk.

"Then she asked me for the phone number of the CHA so she could call and tell them what she thinks of them.

"I have to admit, I gave it to her."

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