A Chicago investigator who determined that several civilian shootings by police officers were unjustified was fired after resisting orders to reverse those findings, according to internal records of his agency obtained by WBEZ.
Scott M. Ando, chief administrator of the city’s Independent Police Review Authority, informed its staff in a July 9 email that the agency no longer employed supervising investigator Lorenzo Davis, 65, a former Chicago police commander. IPRA investigates police-brutality complaints and recommends any punishment.
Davis’s termination came less than two weeks after top IPRA officials, evaluating Davis’s job performance, accused him of “a clear bias against the police” and called him “the only supervisor at IPRA who resists making requested changes as directed by management in order to reflect the correct finding with respect to OIS,” as officer-involved shootings are known in the agency.
Since its 2007 creation, IPRA has investigated nearly 400 civilian shootings by police and found one to be unjustified.
Oddly enough, Davis was getting stellar reviews up until he found a few cases in which he believed police had inappropriately fired their weapons.
Through most of his IPRA tenure, Davis’s performance evaluations showered him with praise. They called him an “effective leader” and “excellent team player.”
The final evaluation, issued June 26, said he “is clearly not a team player.”
“Team player” of course meaning “willing to side with cops who shoot people.”
Back in 2009, I wrote about the department’s record of exonerating bad cops and hiding bad behavior.
A 2008 study by University of Chicago law professor Craig B. Futterman found 10,000 complaints filed against Chicago police officers between 2002 and 2004. That’s more than any city in the country, and proportionally it’s 40 percent above the national average. Of those 10,000 complaints, just 19resulted in significant disciplinary action. In 85 percent of the cases, the complaint was dismissed without even interviewing the accused officer. The study also found that about 5 percent of the department’s 13,500 officers accounted for more than half the complaints.
Yet the Chicago PD recently went to federal court—and won—to prevent the release of the names of 662 officers who had more than 10 citizen complaints filed against them between 2001 and 2006. Even members of the city’s Board of Aldermen aren’t allowed to see the officers’ names.
Now, the police department is working to become even less accountable. Last October, a study from the Chicago Justice Project found that on those rare occasions when Chicago police brass want to fire an officer, the Chicago Police Board—the agency that oversees the department—nearly always overrules them. On the very same day that study was released, the department announced a new policy whereby it would reserve the option to file criminal charges against citizens who file police misconduct reports deemed to be without merit.
And of course this is the city where police were found to have tortured suspects for decades. Conveniently, the city managed to cover up the mess long enough for the statute of limitations to prevent all but one of the officers from facing any criminal charges. In 2008, the city’s most elite police unit was disbanded after officers were accused of a host of crimes from assault to theft to burglaries to conspiracy to commit murder. And just earlier this year, the Guardian reported new allegations of torture, beatings, and other physical abuse at an abandoned warehouse.
Just a thought: Maybe the Chicago PD needs fewer “team players.”