Sharing from a friend and fellow cop: This is really long, but it is the Family statement from the resentencing of the murderer of Police Officer Brian Strouse. It was read by his Sister Kathy, a friend and fellow Police Officer. Judge Flood resentenced the murderer to 40 years in prison. This sentence was mandated by a Supreme Court ruling that finds sentencing of a juvenile for over 40 years cruel and unusual. I was at the resentencing. It hurt on a personal level. I can't imagine the hurt of the Strouse Family. Please take the time to read this if you can. Thank you Judge Flood for imposing the maximum sentence. Please keep the Strouse family in your prayers.
Officer Brian T Strouse
Read by Brian’s sister Officer Kathy Strouse
Nov 4, 2019 at 26th & California for resentencing
12,082 That’s the number of days Brian was alive.
Most of those days were spent trying to make this world a better place.
1,583 days of being a decorated war veteran in the United States Marine Corp. Protecting the freedoms, rights, and safety of every United States citizen.
15806 His badge number for the 2,370 days that he spent as Chicago Police Officer saving others, and doing whatever he could to make this city safer. Making it a better place than it was the day before.
2 the number of bullets that you fired into him, that ended his life, and what started a new number for us.
6,701 days that we have had to live without him. Days replaced with the pain, and anger that brings us here, to this courtroom, again.
There isn’t a number that I could give you for the days we haven’t been able to share with him
Like the day that we would be able to see the look on his face as he watches his bride walk down the aisle.
The days spent with his children. A small part of him that could have lived on. Maybe a son with his smile, or a little girl with his blue eyes.
The sound of his laughter as he is buried under an avalanche of children on Christmas morning. Some of them his, some of them ours.
Hearing him cheer with excitement at the Cubs winning the World Series.
The smell of his cigar as he celebrates another round of golf with his closet friends.
Standing with pride as he rises through the ranks of the Chicago Police department, and is awarded yet another medal or commendation.
Seeing him age as he blows out the candles on his birthday cake every year, and being able to tease him about what an old man he is becoming.
Feeling the comfort of his arms around us as we bury our Dad, knowing that death comes for all of us, but for now, we still have each other.
There isn’t a number that could be calculated for the smaller moments that we were robbed of as well.
Phone calls. Family dinners. Singing, and dancing together at weddings. Being given his unsolicited advice, because he is the oldest, and he knows best. Moments we can’t list, because you stole the possibility of those to occur.
Your two .40 caliber bullets put an end to all of that. They not only ripped through his body, but through our lives as well. The moment you murdered Brian, it started a new set of numbers that are only associated with pain, heartbreak, and unending sorrow.
Like the countless times that we hear our Moms voice crack as she tries to stay strong whenever Brian’s name comes up in conversation.
Or the times I’ve had to do a double take because I was sure I just saw his face in the crowd.
Or when I am positive I hear his laughter. Having to remind myself, yet again, that it isn’t possible.
You silenced his voice, his laugh forever, with those two bullets, with your deliberate act of violence and hate.
With that silence came our new nightmare. One where we were forced to remain silent ourselves. All of those that loved him, and those that came to court to support us, stayed composed. Remaining silent because your rights as a murderer took precedence over our rights as the victims. I came to every court date to watch your public defenders give endless excuses regarding your crime, and I sat. Silently. Filling with rage, and disgust, while also losing any faith I once had in the justice system. Enduring court date, after court date, only to be told, maybe next time.
Since June 30th, 2001, whenever I put on my uniform, I am reminded of our loss. Stopping to wonder as Brian put on his vest, and badge that warm summer night, if it crossed his mind that it would be for the last time.
Remembering that you made the callous choice to murder Brian, for no reason other than because you could.
Witnessing our parents change. Seeing that they were doing their best to carry on, not only for themselves, but for us as well. After losing their daughter Barb when Brian was 6, they did their best to recover. Having Brian ripped from their lives was unfathomable. Unfair. And wrong. As the days without him continued to add up, we could see it was harder for our Dad to hide the pain. To deny the loss that he, and our mom would wear like an anchor.
In the last days of dad’s life, he spoke often of missing Brian. We tried to find comfort in fact that they would all be together again. He lived 5,392 days with a broken heart after you murdered his only son.
And you had your chance. The chance to be different, to make a difference. You destroyed the innocence of your own nephew when you sexually assaulted him, and you were given probation for that crime. While on probation, you murdered Brian, knowing he was a police officer. You shot him, and you knew what you were doing. You admitted it as much on your confession tape. Yet here we are again.
How many chances does Brian get? The answer is zero. You didn’t even give him a chance to live. You took his chances away from him with your choices that day.
Since you’ve been in prison, of the 6,701 days, what have you done to make the world a better place? What have you done to even begin to deserve a second chance at a life outside of your cell? The answer is nothing. Just like there is nothing that we can do to bring Brian back. There are no words that can ease the pain of those who lost him. You deserve the same chance and the same amount of mercy that you gave Brian that night, none.
This hearing will end. The court will move on to the next case, the next criminal, the next headline. Brian’s legacy will live on in all of us. In those who knew him his entire life, to those who only knew him for a fleeting moment. People in Pilsen will still gather in his name. Year after year, June 30th will be a day where they gather in solidarity, and honor his sacrifice, in the very spot where you ended his life.
Brian’s name will live on in the three children that carry his name. Those children, and all the others that he never got the chance to meet, will hear his story.
I will go home and hug my family. Kiss my grandchildren, and call our mom to tell her that this part is done. I’ll spend the rest of my days, thinking of him, imagining a world where he still exists. Sharing stories, and reminiscing with those who knew him, and those who never will. I’m sure there are countless people that have their own stories, their own memories of him. In all of us, Brian will continue to live on. His life being remembered for all the good he did while he was living. He will always be loved.
For you, you’ll return to your prison clothes, remain handcuffed, and board the bus back to your cell. You won’t return home to your loved ones, to hug and kiss those that are a part of your life. You’ll sleep in your cell tonight, in a prison of your own making. Where love, laughter, and goodness have no life. Those bars hold no hope for you, but it’s just a fraction of the punishment you so justly deserve.
Forgiveness is something that you have never asked for, and it is something we will never grant you.
The pain that you so willingly caused our family, friends, and the community of Chicago with your choices is something I wouldn’t wish on anyone. And if this murderer escapes his just sentence, what would it say about the power of law, and its ability to protect our society from senseless and wanton violence? What explanation can be offered when criminals and murderers are emboldened by the courts unwillingness to enforce the sentences juries have delivered? What explanation should be given to the next fallen officer’s family?
The fact that we have returned here speaks to the turning of the tide where criminals are victims, and victims are meaningless. That victims lives and the crimes that were committed against them are just a headline to be forgotten about when the next one inevitably occurs. The defendant knew when he was doing when he chose to murder Brian, and he knew it was wrong. The choices of this criminal, this murderer, have ruined many lives. Why should he be excused for his choices? His nephew did not get a choice. Brian did not get a choice. We did not get a choice.
Please don’t allow others on his behalf, to apologize, or excuse his actions. To exonerate his crime of first degree murder under the guise of immaturity. He showed then that he didn’t care. He has never apologized for murdering a servant of this city, and of this nation. In 6,701 days, he’s done nothing to atone, or even acknowledge his act.
This isn’t a question of guilt. There’s no doubt that this man murdered Brian. There’s also no doubt this cold blooded killer is corrupt beyond the capabilities of rehabilitation.
The fact that this man is imprisoned is not punishment. It is mercy. Mercy for this city, this state, and her people. That they, and we, can believe that a murderer cannot, and must not, be able to escape from the consequences of his horrible actions. But more than that, it is justice. The justice Brian believed in. The justice and rule of law, that he was serving when his life was stolen.
It is injustice that we are here after he was given the sentence of life in prison. Those on the United States Supreme Court and The Illinois State Supreme court have possibly never been forced into a tragedy such as this. Never had to sign their loved ones do not resuscitate. Or had to inform their parents at 3am that their only son was shot while on duty. Knowing that as each minute passed, the likelihood of them making it to the hospital in time was nearly impossible. They didn’t make it. Maybe if the justices of these courts chose a different path in life, one where they found themselves, or someone they love in that alley at 18th and Loomis on June 30th, 2001, they would have reached the right decision.
Honorable Judge Flood, my family, our friends, and all those that spend their days trying to make this world a better place, ask that you sentence Chicago Police Officer Brian Strouse’s murderer to the maximum allowed under the law. It is your duty to deny him the ability to attain the freedom that he so ruthlessly took from Brian.