Kicking the Pigeon #3: April 28, 2003

On the evening of April 28, 2003—two weeks after she filed a complaint with OPS about the April 13 incident—Diane Bond returned home at about 7:30 p.m. from the corner store. She encountered Officers Stegmiller, Savickas, Utreras, and Schoeff outside her apartment door. Also present was a fifth officer she later identified as Joseph Seinitz. He was tall and lean, in his thirties, with closely cropped blond hair. She recognized him as the officer known on the street as “Macintosh.”

The officers had two young men in custody. Demetrius Miller was one of them; she didn’t recognize the other. His name, she gathered, was Robert Travis. Bond recounted the incident to me the next day.

One of the officers barked at her, “Get the hell out of here!” Moments later, as she was descending the stairs, another yelled, “Come here!” Seinitz came down the stairs and grabbed her. Holding her by the collar of her jacket, he dragged her back up to the eighth floor, her body scraping against the stairs.

While Seinitz held Bond, Savickas punched her in the face and demanded, “Give me your fucking keys!”

“They snatched my jacket off and took the keys out of my pocket,” she told me. “I was so scared, I pissed on myself.”

The officers entered her apartment. They ordered her to sit on the sofa in her living room. The two young men, handcuffed, sat on her glass coffee table.

Stegmiller came in from outside the apartment and placed two bags of drugs on the top of her microwave. (He would later testify that he had found the drugs in an “EXIT” sign in the corridor outside her apartment.)

One officer stayed with Bond and the two boys, while the other three searched the apartment. The officer leaned back on her television cabinet where family pictures and religious artifacts were arrayed. She begged him not to sit on her icon of the Virgin Mary.

“Fuck the Virgin Mary,” he said, as he swept his hand across the top of the cabinet, knocking the Virgin Mary and other religious objects to the floor.

Seinitz and two other officer were searching Bond’s bedroom. They motioned to her to come into the room. They told her to pull down her pants. Then they told her to pull down her panties.

Seinitz brandished a pair of needle-nosed vise-grips and threatened to pull out her teeth if she didn’t cooperate.

“Why’d you pee on yourself?” one of them taunted.

They ordered her to bend over with her back to them, exposing herself. While she was in that position, they instructed her to reach inside her vagina “and pull out the drugs.”

Bond was overcome by terror. As a child and young woman, she had, she told me, suffered repeated sexual abuse at the hands of men, including a gang rape when she was a high school student. Now, despite the official complaint she had made against these officers, they were again swarming around her, threatening her, cursing her, forcing her to undress. She feared they would rape or kill her. “I didn’t know what they were going to do next.” She only knew that each thing they did was worse than the last.

They brought her back into the living room. One of the officers instructed Travis to “stiffen up,” as he punched him repeatedly in the stomach.

“Do you want us to put a package on her?” the officer asked Travis.

“I don’t care what you do with her,” he replied.

They left with the two men.

Bond locked the door, collapsed on her sofa, and wept.

* * * *

A neighbor, Barbara White, who lives on the second floor of 3651 S. Federal, reported she too was assaulted that night by the same group of officers after they left Bond’s apartment.

White was employed at that time as a security guard. “I’ve lived here twenty-two years,” she told me, “and never had any problems.”

According to White, a friend named Bruce Reed came by at about 8:15 p.m. to see if she wanted anything from the store. When Reed came to the door, she was in the kitchen washing dishes. She said no. When he turned to leave, five police officers were at the door.

“What’s wrong?” White asked.

“You put my fuckin’ life in danger,” said one of the officers. White’s description of him—white, salt-and-pepper hair, about 40 years old—fits Stegmiller. She recognized him as one of the officers who some months earlier had demanded, in the course of searching her 16-year-old goddaughter, that the girl expose her breasts.

Stegmiller claimed White had yelled out the warning “Clean up!” when the police first arrived at the building earlier that evening. She denied she had done so. He slapped her across the face.

“You slap her,” he ordered Reed.

Reed refused. “I’m not gonna slap her.”

“If you don’t slap her, you’re going to jail.”

“You might as well take me to jail, ‘cause I’m not gonna put my hand on her.”

White tried to get to the telephone to call 911. Stegmiller blocked her path and threatened her, “Bitch, if you call 911, I’ll come back and fuck you up myself.”

The officers left. White called 911 and requested an ambulance which took her to Michael Reese Hospital. She was examined, then took the bus home.

* * * *

The basis for this narrative is a series of interviews with Diane Bond, beginning on the day after the alleged incident, April 29, 2003, and continuing to the present; interviews with Demetrius Miller, Barbara White, and Bruce Reed; and the plaintiff’s statement of facts in Bond v. Chicago Police Officers Utreras, et al.

Officers Robert Stegmiller, Joseph Seinitz, Christ Savickas, Andrew Schoeff, and Edwin Utreras deny having any contact with Ms. Bond on the date alleged.

To be continued…