The Untouchables: An Investigation Into The Violence Of The Chicago Police

Why does the department protect its most dangerous cops while retaliating against officers who tell the truth?

Usually, that kid clomp­ing down his mother’s porch is a trac­tor beam of charm. On the South Side of Chicago, where Gangster Disciples shoot the Black Disciples over slights and side-eyed infrac­tions, nobody seems to has­sle Calvin Cross — he’s too much fun to be around. He does a thou­sand voic­es, and all of them are fun­ny, from 50 Cent impres­sions to Dave Chappelle to the cast of Diff’rent Strokes. Every night, he calls his girl­friend, Tunoka Jett, to tell her he loves and miss­es her — and to some­times sing to her that dopey song from Dirty Dancing. “You can’t nev­er be down when you’re around him,” Tunoka says. “He’ll just keep at you and at you till you laugh.” Tonight, though, Calvin’s high beams are dimmed a bit: It’s the day after Memorial Day, and he’s stuffed on BBQ. He’s on the couch drows­ing through a Mavs-Heat game when his homie wakes him up to go hang out. Calvin doesn’t have friends so much as eager wing­men. “My cra­zi­est times with females hap­pened offa him,” says Myles Gardner, his day-one bestie at Harlan High School. “Once he showed that smile to a girl, it’s a wrap — then I’d swoop in on her home­girl.” Calvin’s got a baby boy due in the next five weeks, and all he talks about is how he’s going to spoil him. But Tunoka is a dean’s‑list stu­dent head­ed for col­lege, and Calvin’s 19 and, frankly, feel­ing him­self. He’s got too much game to set­tle down.

And so now he’s off to kick it with his pal Ryan, a guy he befriend­ed at Job Corps. The two teens walk up to 124th Street, head­ed around the cor­ner to meet some girls. But about halfway between Parnell and Wallace streets, a police car sud­den­ly screams to a halt beside them. Three cops pour out of it, dressed head to toe in black and point­ing semi-auto­mat­ics at them. Put your hands up, they scream; it’s dark; there’s a street­light on the cor­ner, but it’s bro­ken. Ryan stops and rais­es his hands. Calvin takes off run­ning. No one knows why he does this, though it’s easy enough to guess: He thinks he’s about to be killed.

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