List Shows Chicago Police Misconduct

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 26, 2005

CHICAGO – Hundreds of Chicago police officers have had 10 or more complaints filed against them, and at least four members of an elite police unit have racked up more than 50 each in the past five years, according to a published report.

The high numbers, reported by the Chicago Tribune, are the latest black mark on a troubled department. City police have been under fire for several recent incidents, including two videotaped beatings involving off-duty officers at bars and the indictments of six officers in a Special Operations Section on charges ranging from burglary to armed violence.

The list was turned over to Chicago’s aldermen by city attorney Mara Georges, with the officers’ names blacked out.

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The records had been kept secret by court order after they were turned over to plaintiffs in a federal civil rights lawsuit in which several police officers were accused of brutality. After the case was settled, journalist and community activist Jamie Kalven filed a petition in federal court to unseal the documents.

U.S. District Judge Joan Lefkow sided with his petition and released her ruling last Monday, saying the public had a right to see the documents, but the city appealed. The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday granted a stay to let the city keep the list secret until judges decide what to do about the case.

Police spokeswoman Monique Bond said the complaints against officers can range from parking complaints to claims of excessive force.

“It would be unfair to assume that all complaints fall into the more severe categories,” she said.

The City Council is scheduled to vote Thursday on a proposal to reform the Office of Professional Standards, which investigates police misconduct. Critics say the office is too beholden to the police department and does little to discipline officers accused of misconduct.

A service of the Associated Press(AP)