All In The Family, When Cops Kill
Aug. 24, 2015 (Mimesis Law) — We’ve talked about police involved shootings and the investigations conducted, along with the lack of prosecution. We’ve talked about how district and state’s attorneys are not willing to take these cases to trial. We’ve talked about the tally that is being run by The Guardian, counting all of the people killed by police this year. So far, just under 750 people have been shot and killed by the police. Let’s look at one of the more interesting cases.
Joseph Caffarello was shot and killed by off-duty Rosemont, Illinois police officer Rick Drehobl, Jr. Caffarello had been involved in a domestic disturbance with his wife, Deanna Drehobl Caffarello.
Yup, that’s Rick Jr.’s sister.
Anyway, Rick Jr. came to drive his sister away, and Caffarello rammed his car into Rick Jr.’s car, whereupon Rick Jr. exits his vehicle and shoots Caffarello in the chest. Note the order of events here. The cars had already collided. Rick Jr. had already exited the vehicle. Then Rick Jr. shot Caffarello in the chest.
Seems simple, right? No immediate threat and a round to the center of the guy’s chest.
Not so fast.
Rick Jr. and Deanna have parents. Those parents are retired Rosemont Police Captain Richard Drehobl, Sr., who is also the current Park Board President, and Village Clerk Debbie Drehobl. Rick Jr. had been accompanied to the Caffarello residence by Eric Herrera, another off-duty Rosemont officer. Before they left, Deanna gave Caffarello’s only gun to Rick Jr., who put it in the car. So Rick Jr. knew that Caffarello was not armed.
And while all of this is happening, Richard Sr. has called the Rosemont Police and have them en route that location because there may be “trouble.”
So the State Police investigate and the State’s Attorney announces that there is insufficient evidence to go to trial.
Okay, we know that Caffarello wasn’t a nice guy. It took three attempts for the Illinois Tollway Authority to fire him and make it stick, the last time for sleeping on the job. Although he was not part of the Chicago mob, he had ties and played on them to intimidate others. Deanna claimed that he had a prescription drug problem, although that seems a bit self-serving under the circumstances. Caffarello’s uncle was a Rosemont village employee, as well as being a reputed mob street “collector.”
But although sliming the victim is common in police shootings, none of that changes the order of events, or the single shot to the chest of an unarmed man.
And all of a sudden additional information comes forward. Witnesses stated that the first thing responding Rosemont officers did was hug Rick Jr. Before disarming him. I’m sorry, but when you show up on a scene and one guy is holding a gun and another guy is laying on the ground bleeding from a hole in his chest, the first thing you do is disarm the guy, not hug him.
An officer who put Rick Jr. in an ambulance for “chest and back pain” had reportedly also stopped Caffarello earlier that day and believed that he was driving while under the influence of drugs. But he inexplicably did not arrest him. How nice. Is there a reason you didn’t arrest him? Doesn’t that sort of make the information you provide just more sliming of the victim?
And yet another witness came forward. A retired Rosemont fire chief and current Rosemont building inspector, claiming he saw the whole thing. Note that in Rosemont, both the police and fire are under the same department, the Department of Public Safety.
So we end up with the Cook County State’s Attorney not prosecuting the case for insufficient evidence. But we can trust that, because, well, government officials are to be trusted.
Well, maybe not so much. You see, in 2005, FBI Special Agent John Mallul testified that then Mayor Donald Stephens had ties with organized crime. The Illinois Gaming Board believed the same thing in 2004, and put it in a memo when they denied the village a casino. Current Mayor Bradley Stephens (Donald’s son) has surely corrected all of that, since he’s got his brother, Donald Jr., running the police department as the director of public safety, where Donald III is the police chief. The same police department that Rick Sr. retired from and that Rick Jr. currently works.
The same department that has 400 full- and part-time employees for a village of just over 4,000 residents. One public safety employee for every 10 citizens, that’s pretty good.
I’m sure that the December 2014 lawsuit alleging police cover-up of crime is also baseless, just a product of Frank Siciliano’s imagination. Except for the fact that Frank was a commander at the police department, there would be no reason to believe that there was a problem.
But we can trust the Cook County State’s Attorneys Office,
“After a very thorough investigation by the Illinois State Police and a subsequent legal review of the facts of this case, the Cook County state’s attorney’s office has determined that there is insufficient evidence to bring criminal charges in this matter.”
Officials at the state attorney’s office didn’t provide further explanation about what led to their decision.
Nothing to see here, move on.