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Mike Quinn could speak jive or inner city ghettoese better than any cop in the city. He could tongue-tie street hustlers, prostitutes, pimps, dope dealers, or any other jive talkers. Mike took pleasure in using his quick wit to out-hustle the hustlers. He had the best lines to use on the streets of Chicago’s West Side, and was envied by most cops for his ability to beat the jive talkers at their own game. Mike was also a very dedicated cop and serious in his ability to do his job as a patrolman in Chicago’s crime-infested Fillmore district.

Testifying in court was something else Mike loved to do. This was his time to battle wits with attorneys on their battlefield – the courtroom. “These hustlers,” Mike often said, “are a bit more sophisticated, but slower witted than good street hustlers.” He loved to toy with attorneys and always won in any exchange of wits. He came across as very professional to the judges, and was liked immediately by most juries.

“You’ve got to have some style in court,” Mike would say, and his style usually imitated a TV or movie cop. He would usually do his disheveled impersonation of “Columbo,” his icy-looked “Dirty Harry,” or his ultra straightlaced “Jack Webb.” These impersonations were very subtle and came across well to all, except the other cops in the courtroom. They knew Mike and would try to be the first to identify Mike’s character.

One particular day in Court Branch #24, Mike decided this was the time for Jack Webb to testify at a pending armed robbery trial. Mike took the witness stand and was asked to state, in his own words, what happened on the date and time in question. Mike began:

“I was working the day watch out of the Fillmore District when I received a radio transmission while on routine aggressive patrol in my designated area of assignment. The transmission reported an armed robbery in progress at the liquor store located at Roosevelt Road and California. I acknowledged the radio transmission in the affirmative and activated my revolving roof light, while proceeding to said location with due caution. Nearing the scene of the alleged armed robbery, I deactivated my revolving light and positioned my vehicle in a strategically advantageous location. I alighted from my vehicle and took cover behind it. I observed a subject directing, what appeared to be, an illegal length sawed-off shogun at an individual standing behind a counter in the liquor store. Noting that an armed robbery was probably being perpetrated, I took up a surreptitious position that offered me a tactical advantage, while providing a proper amount of concealment from the alleged perpetrator. I was still able to visually monitor the subject’s activity from this position, so I decided to wait for an opportunity to apprehend the perpetrator when he exited the location. The perpetrator then grabbed a bag, of what I believed to be United States currency, from the individual standing behind the counter and began to approach the exit of said premises. At the most tactically feasible moment, I announced my office and directed my service revolver at the perpetrator and told him to drop his weapon, or I would be obligated to use deadly force against him. The subject complied with my request. I took him into custody and advised him of his Constitutional rights, to which the subject made no statements.”

Most of the cops in the courtroom thought, “This time Mike has even out ‘Jack Webbed’ Jack Webb himself.” The stick-up man was quickly convicted of armed robbery at a bench trial. The judge asked the now convicted armed robber if he had anything to say before he passed sentence upon him.
The stick-up man quickly replied, “Judge, I be’s a bit confused. I admit it, I was there and stuck-up that liquor store, but I’m not sure the officer is talking about the same stick-up. Ya see, I don’t know about him light’in up his squad car or announcing any office or what. All I know is that the officer pointed his gun at my head and said, “Drop your shit motherfucker, or kiss your ass good-bye.”

The cops in the courtroom tried to hold back their laughter, but to no avail. Mike’s face began to turn the color of a Chicago fire hydrant, and he slid down in his seat. Although Mike was well over six feet tall, at that moment he felt under six inches tall with no place to hide. The smirking judge gave Mike a knowing look, accompanied by a wink. The judge turned very serious, and said to the newly convicted armed robber, “I don’t see any difference between your story and Officer Quinn’s. To me they are really the same thing.”

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