To the editor:
As a Chicago policeman for 20 years, including 12 assigned to the 14th District, from 1984-’96, I would like to address outright lies, embellishments, and urban legends in the article written by former police officer Juan Antonio Juarez (“A Soldier’s Story,” April 12).
The late police officer John Lyons, who Juarez identified as his training officer, was well liked by his colleagues and supervisors. He also was well liked in the community. A number of years ago, Lyons was killed in the line of duty as the result of a traffic accident.
Contrary to Juarez’s characterization, Lyons never was known as a “kick ass now, take names later” kind of cop, and it is even more outrageous for Juarez to portray Lyons as a brutal thug.
Curiously, Juarez talks about all the officers he worked with who allegedly did improper things, but he names only Lyons, who, being deceased, can’t defend himself against the accusations.
Why doesn’t Juarez name any of the other officers? Could it be they might respond to the Reader by rebutting all the lies he tells?
Juarez, for example, tells a tale of an on-duty encounter with a junkyard dog that supposedly bit off a homeless woman’s foot. He spins another yarn claiming he and his partner answered a call to find a dead woman whose own dog appears in the deceased’s kitchen with the dead woman’s severed arm in its mouth.
He claims he and his partner joked about reporting the incident as an “armed robbery.”
Both stories are urban legends. Neither has any basis in fact. They never happened.
Juarez, who spent only his rookie year on patrol, bemoans how he couldn’t do “real investigations” in a beat car “because I was tied down to the police radio.”
Only one year on the job, and he thought he was qualified to be a detective?
On the one hand, he notes his father was a career police officer in Chicago. On the other, he claims he had no political clout to leverage his way into the narcotics unit. Any policeman with clout never tells anyone they have clout nor who their clout is.
Fellow officers I spoke to regarding Juarez after the article appeared to remember him, in their words, as lazy and an underachiever. Yet he makes the narcotics squad with only 12 months in uniform. No clout? Yeah, right.
He writes that he felt bad about the “little” dope dealers the unit arrests because those arrested, charged, and convicted might not get a second chance and might not even get into the military.
How would he feel if one of those “little” dope dealers stood in front of his house and sold dope all night and all day?
Again, contrary to Juarez’s claims, the narcotics unit doesn’t just go into poor areas to arrest dope dealers to make the top brass happy “and to keep lower-class minorities down,” as he wrote. They go to hot spots based on neighborhood residents’ complaints. Or does Juarez believe certain people should be allowed to deal dope because they are “lower-class minorities”?
I’m glad Juarez decided to leave the Chicago Police Department. Maybe he can make a living writing fiction. But please, Juan Antonio, don’t write any more fiction that slanders John Lyons, who was a very good policeman and served the department honorably for more than 25 years.
Sergeant Michael Lazzaro
Chicago Police Department