Video: Inmates applaud as cop-killer walks by

The accused murderer of a Chicago police commander received a hero's welcome in the Cook County prison lock-up.  As he was being led upstairs to face the judge in a preliminary hearing, several inmates in the lock-up applauded as he walked by.

Cook County prison officials released the video to the public.

The Chicago Sun-Times describes the incident where the officer lost his life:

On Thursday, Legghette shuffled into the courtroom, with the eyes of nearly 50 police officers trained squarely on him.

"This case is truly tragic and disheartening to the entire city," Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx said.

Outside of the Cook County Criminal Court building, flags fluttered at half-staff.

Inside, a courtroom packed with police officers, including CPS Superintendent Eddie Johnson, were at full attention.

"The commander was a leader in the department, a devoted father, and husband," Foxx said.

Police say the 44-year-old Legghette was in downtown Chicago on Tuesday afternoon when tactical officers approached him because he was acting suspiciously.  After a brief scuffle, he ran away.

Police said the 53-year-old Bauer, who identified himself as a police officer, grabbed Legghette and was holding him when he and the suspect fought.  Authorities say both fell down a stairwell before Legghette allegedly shot him.

Foxx said Legghette fired seven shots at Cmdr. Bauer.  He was hit by six of those shots – and suffered wounds to his head, neck, torso, back and wrist.

Foxx described the heart-breaking scene, where police found Cmdr. Bauer’s body.

"Cmdr. Bauer’s weapon was holstered and secured when his body was found. Cmdr. Bauer’s police radio and handcuffs were on the ground next to his body," she said.

Some might think convicts give cop-killers the celebrity treatment.  But such is not always the case.  A retired police lieutenant explains:

A friend of mine, who worked in the Illinois Corrections Division at several state prisons and before retiring, told me cop killers were just the same as all of the other convicts.  He never saw the other inmates worship them because befriending them might draw the ire of the guards.

He admitted that guards might be a little heavy handed in dealing with cop killers and the other inmates knew that guilt by association was common with the guards.

One thing he did say was that gang members out of Chicago actually got mad at a gang member convicted of hurting or killing a cop because try [sic] knew that the wrath of the officer's department was gonna come down on those on the street. And come down hard.

It's not the high and mighty status seen in the movies and on TV.

That's one take.  Another is the unfair perception of police in Chicago.  Certainly, there are bad apples, as there are in other police departments.  With outrage against police being ginned up by activists and others, inmates may have applauded as a way to demonstrate their bravado among their fellow prisoners. 

Would it have happened anywhere else?  Hard to say.

Cook County Prison officials say that the applauding inmates will be disciplined.