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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Letter: The search for Kevin
2008-04-30

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I hope the Kevin Clewer story in Windy City Times ( April 23, 2008 ) is productive though, sadly, it does not reflect any new proactive law enforcement initiatives toward resolving this tragic and unsolved homicide. I am perplexed by the continued search for the hardly elusive 'Fernando' suspect, as he was identified, arrested, questioned and released in March 2005. 'Fernando' was the last known person to be with Kevin at a Halsted Street bar and is therefore a suspect, though not necessarily the killer. This investigative tunnel vision resulting from exclusively focusing on 'Fernando' may well leave the actual offender undetected and free to commit additional crimes.

Investigative personnel unfamiliar with and/or biased toward certain non-traditional communities will reflect this bias throughout the investigation, whether LGBT, immigrant, homeless or other marginalized and underserved population segments. To be blunt, heterosexism and homophobia are as endemic in law enforcement as in society in general. Law enforcement agencies in general, and the Chicago Police Department ( CPD ) in particular, fail to welcome initiative, instead focusing on maintaining the status quo that is reflected in the hierarchal attitude of the organization and personnel.

This was readily apparent in the Chicago newspaper story at the time 'Fernando' was arrested by Area 3 police personnel, who disclosed their personal opinions to reporters in order to discredit that particular initiative after much investigative inertia. Additionally, there is a deliberate unwillingness to consider commonalities between similar crimes. As a former police officer, I know this institutional mindset can be improved and people better served if the decision is made to confront this attitude and institute change.

The CPD 'clears' only 38.8 percent of homicides, according to the 2006 annual report. The rate of actual solved and prosecuted cases is lower. This is a police department that has established an Animal Crimes Unit dedicated toward investigating violence against animals, yet refuses to establish a LGBT-focused unit with investigational authority to investigate crimes oriented toward the LGBT community.

Bob Zuley

Chicago


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