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Ma’am, I have to report an emergency. A man’s being strangled to death right in front of me.

What is your location?

I’m not exactly sure, we’re out in the street. Let’s see, I’m at the intersection of Chicago Avenue and East 38th Street. It’s right near the corner.

Which side of the river?

West side, Powderhorn Park neighborhood.

I’ll send police right away. Can you tell me information so they’ll know exactly where at the intersection?

It’s outside of Cup Foods. I’m with a big group of people. You have to hurry.

Can you and the others watching do anything to stop it?

No! The murderer has three people with him, and they keep everyone away!

Is it a gang murder?

Yeah, except…

The dispatch went out when you first told me the intersection. We should have some people there in a couple of minutes. Are the gang members armed?

Yes, they are definitely armed. Weapons are still in their holsters.

Holsters? Gangs in that neighborhood don’t use holsters.

I have another request. Don’t send anyone from the local precinct. Send people from the county sheriff’s.

That will take a lot longer. The victim will be dead by then.

He’s dying right in front of me! You have to hurry!

Why do you want law enforcement from outside the district?

I don’t know how to say this, because I don’t know what you’ll think. All four of the policemen here on the scene are from the local precinct.

What are you talking about? Why did you call 911 if you already have four policemen there?

They’re the ones committing the murder!

You’re right – I don’t know what to think. But if this is a prank call, you are a good actress.

I can tell you, everything I’ve said is true. If this poor man dies, all four will go up for murder. The lead officer especially.

How is he strangling the victim?

Knee on his neck.

Police aren’t supposed to do that. Are you sure?

They’re about ten feet away from me. Young woman next to me has her phone out. Cop knows she’s recording him.

I don’t know what to do. Dispatch automatically went to local police.

Can’t you call in someone else? Someone who has authority over these guys?

I could try to reach Chief Arradondo. All of that would take too long, though I’m sure he would like to know what’s happening down there.

That poor guy is suffering so much. We all want to knock the policeman off, but the uniforms and the guns are too much. No one wants to get shot, and most of us are black.

I put in another call, to see if we can get the most senior officer in the area. Your strangler won’t listen to anyone outside his chain of command.

Do you believe what I tell you?

Yes, I believe you. I’m black, too.

What do we do? What do we do?

Make sure that young woman keeps recording, straight through. Don’t let her falter. You’re all courageous out there.

He’s grinding that poor fellow’s face into the pavement! People in war zones aren’t this cruel.

Has anyone arrived yet?

No, no. I think he’s dead. Wait…, I think I see a medical vehicle pull up. I think I heard the policemen say they would call paramedics, because the victim seemed distressed.

Was he ever violent?

Oh, no. Police cuffed the man’s wrists, then forced him to the ground and now they’re killing him!

How’s the ambulance doing?

They’re still trying to get through the crowd with a stretcher. The guy can’t walk anymore.

Well let me know when they have him in the ambulance.

I will.

(A minute and a half later.)

Alright, the paramedics have him in the back, and the ambulance doors are closing up. Top lights are flashing. Vehicle will pull out in a few seconds.

Do you think the gentleman will make it?


Did you hear anyone say his name?

I think I heard someone say George.