A racially charged blog that reportedly has wide readership among Chicago police officers ceased operations this week less than an hour after the Better Government Association visited a detective to ask whether he was the anonymous operator of the web site.
The detective – a 25-year veteran named William F. Kazupski, who is on disability leave for an injury – denied running the controversial blog, called Detective Shaved Longc–k, although a Post Office box displayed on the web site traces back to him, his personal Facebook page includes references to the blog and an online write-up for a radio contest that he once apparently entered describes his place of employment as “DSLC,” shorthand for the blog.
“It’s not my blog, I do a little advertising on there [for a side business] to make a few extra bucks – and believe me it’s not much,” Kazupski said when the BGA visited him Wednesday at his Far Southwest Side apartment.
He said he’s “not at liberty” to say who does run the site, which includes political and crime news, often with racist or otherwise derogatory terms and images used for blacks, Latinos, Jews and others.
But less than an hour after the conversation with the BGA on Wednesday, articles, archives and other information on Detective Shaved Longc–k were pulled down and a scathing rebuke of the BGA was posted on the site.
The post read in part: “It’s not good bye but it will be a new start with my computer operations based in another state.”
The farewell announcement prompted angry calls and emails to the BGA, including one that anonymously stated, “Just remember Payback’s a bitch.”
The BGA also received positive feedback from some on the force.
The BGA is a non-profit non-partisan government watchdog that investigates public agencies and public employees, and often reveals findings in news stories.
The BGA decided to look into the blog’s operations because it appeared to be run by one or more Chicago cops and, until Wednesday, reportedly had a large following on the force. Among other things, the BGA wanted to see whether the blog was updated by officers on the clock, and whether hate-related speech was permitted within the police department, which has a long history of racial strife within its ranks and between white officers and minority members of the public.
The department may be in a tricky spot, trying to balance free speech rights with agency provisions requiring that on- and off-duty officers behave in a manner that doesn’t tarnish their badge or undermine public trust. In this instance, it’s perhaps a moot point, given Detective Shaved Longc–k was anonymously run.
Asked about the blog, which is often harshly critical of police and city leaders, department spokeswoman Melissa Stratton emailed the following statement: “The Chicago Police Department holds its members to the highest standards, whether they’re on or off duty. Any social media communications that disparage an individual or group based on race, religion, sexual orientation or anything else are reprehensible and against the policies of the Department.”
Patricia Hill, executive director of the African American Police League, said she has visited the Detective Shaved Longc–k site a couple of times and has been pilloried there for her advocacy on behalf of black cops and the African-American community.
“I would say this: they’re equal opportunity bigots, because they don’t like anybody,” said Hill, a former Chicago cop. “Closed minded and narrow minded, I call them cowards.”
The BGA’s interest in the blog was amplified by Kazupski’s disability status. The Chicago Sun-Times recently printed a series on Chicago police and firefighters on disability, noting the system is badly monitored and rife with potential abuse, with taxpayers subsidizing the tab, totaling $18 million a year for the police department alone. The city inspector general and the U.S. attorney’s office have launched investigations into the city’s “duty disability” program.
Kazupski, who was honored in Congress in 1994 for helping rescue 19 children living in “subhuman conditions” in a small apartment on Keystone Avenue, collects roughly $5,500 a month for a reported on-duty injury to his hand, according to city pension records obtained by the Sun-Times, and interviews. That’s one of the largest payouts among the 300-plus officers on duty disability in 2011, records show. He’s been on leave since 2010, according to the police department.
While Kazupski admitted being affiliated with the controversial blog – launched in 2008, according to the site, and records showing it drew an estimated 12,000 visitors in July alone – and knowing that it’s popular with Chicago cops and firefighters, he said the only blog he actually runs is focused on the old James Garner TV show “The Rockford Files.”
This story was written and reported by the BGA’s Robert Herguth. He can be reached at (312) 821-9030 or email@example.com.