More than 100 current and former Chicago Police Department employees were allowed to remain on duty despite making false statements, despite a provision that their dismissal was an “appropriate disciplinary action,” City Hall said. The inspector general reported on Thursday.
When former mayor Lori Lightfoot was a member of the Chicago Police Commission, she called the department’s Rule 14 the “lying and you die” rule.
But the Office of the Inspector General determined that the regulations were not consistently enforced and undermined the health of the department.
“By hiring members with a history of Rule 14 violations, the CPD has the potential to undermine otherwise successful criminal convictions, undermine public confidence, and create constitutional and legal ramifications,” the agency said in its report. By breaching our obligations, we risk compromising core law enforcement functions.” “Given the importance of truthfulness and credibility in the work of the police, the CPD, the Civilian Department of Police Responsibility, and the Commission of Police should ensure that rule 14 violations are consistently reviewed, disciplined, and accurately documented. We should make changes.”
As of November, the police department had hired or recently hired at least 110 people who broke the rules, some of whom were subject to two disciplinary investigations found to have made false written or oral statements. 5 people who have become are included.
Some were assigned to specialized units such as FBI special forces. Others worked as detectives and were promoted even after their lies and gross omissions were discovered, according to reports.
The inspector general’s office has called for stricter enforcement of the rule, criticizing “structural flaws” in the city’s police accountability system and gaps in policy and practice that “contribute to poor enforcement of Rule 14.” .
The department said COPA and the Police Department of Internal Affairs would regularly recommend dismissal for such violations, that police departments would “consistently isolate” members who violated the rules, and that police commissions would not accept any dismissals. recommended to support.
Police authorities also need to ensure that officials who violate the rules are not allowed to write reports or testify in court, the Office of the Inspector General said, adding that any new violations would alert prosecutors. He added that they should be notified immediately.
The Cook County Attorney’s Office maintains a list of police officers who have been barred from testifying in court for making false statements or other misconduct that calls into question their credibility.
Earlier this week, tribe It reported that 200 current and former Chicago police officers were on those lists.
However, the police department’s general counsel told the inspector general that the department was not aware of any records submitted in response to prosecutorial requests for disciplinary records of employees.
In other words, the police station “cannot confirm or verify whether the duty to report has been fulfilled.” [prosecutors] or any other requester regarding a member’s Rule 14 history,” the Office of the Inspector General said.
The report cited two cases in which club members testified after they broke the rules.
One lied about making disparaging remarks about ordinary people, but became the sole prosecutor’s witness in a drug case. The appeals court then ruled that “arrest reports and preliminary hearing testimony used to restore the confidence of members are inadmissible,” revoking the conviction and defendant’s seven-year prison sentence, and ordering a new trial. rice field.
Another department member lied that he was actually at a district station after hours and filed a false criminal report stating that an employee’s signature was forged on a default car lease. Turns out I went twice. The employee was later called to testify in at least two criminal cases, both of which resulted in a conviction.
The Office of the Inspector General said it was unclear whether any Rule 14 violations by officials had been made public.
A police spokesman said the department was “reviewing the recommendations of the Office of the Inspector General and is on track to finalize and implement some of the recommendations.”
In response to the Inspector General’s recommendations included in the report, the Internal Affairs investigators will continue to recommend the Inspector General’s dismissal in cases involving Rule 14 violations.
However, the police have broken the rules because they have failed to consider processes beyond their control, such as collective bargaining agreements and grievance procedures bound by police commission procedures, thus consistently separating members. ‘ declined the call.
The department keeps a record of all members who have violated Rule 14 and conducts “periodic reviews” to assess whether members have been assigned to positions that require them to write reports or testify in court. agreed to do so. Police also promised to introduce a “continuous notification system” to alert prosecutors to violations and to train investigators to recognize violations.
Other agencies covered by the report criticized some of the findings and disagreed with the Inspector General’s recommendations.
In a letter accompanying the report, Chicago Police Commission officials said 21 of the 23 officers convicted of violating Rule 14 since 2018 are facing dismissal. bottom. They said the commission would have to “make a decision based on the evidence and legal authority that became part of the record at the hearing on the charges,” so it could not commit to upholding the recommendations to firefighters. Said he couldn’t.
COPA’s chief administrator, Andrea Kersten, wrote in response to the findings that the regulator “generally agrees” with recommending the dismissal of police officers who violate Rule 14, but COPA’s actions is bound by trade union contracts, and “we definitely need to consider whether we are violating trade union contracts.” In either case, there are good reasons to dismiss a police officer. “
In response to a recommendation to direct investigators to look for Rule 14 violations and establish mechanisms to see if potential violations are being evaluated, Kersten said such steps have already been taken. rice field.
“COPA is adamant that any police officer found to have knowingly lied in an official report or statement should be held accountable,” Kersten said in a written statement. rice field. “These actions could not only adversely affect the department’s reform efforts, but also undermine the integrity of the criminal justice system.”