Chicago lawyer accused hiding police shooting evidence resigns

CHICAGO -- A top city of Chicago lawyer stepped down Monday after a federal judge accused him of hiding evidence in a fatal police shooting, the latest allegation of wrongdoing amid ongoing scrutiny of how the city deals with such cases.

See Full Article

Separately, the city agency that investigates police shootings vowed greater transparency, saying Monday that it would start divulging some details of active cases as it tries to bolster public confidence in the process.

Since November, Chicago has been dealing with fallout from the release of a video showing a white officer fatally shooting black teenager Laquan McDonald. The video prompted protests and led to a wide-ranging civil rights investigation of the entire police department by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Monday's 72-page opinion from U.S. District Judge Edmond Chang was part of a civil lawsuit brought by relatives of Darius Pinex, a black man, who was shot and killed by police during a 2011 traffic stop in Chicago.

The officers, Raoul Mosqueda and Gildardo Sierra, said they opened fire as Pinex refused orders and put his car in reverse. The officers had said they stopped Pinex because his car matched a description they heard on their police radio of a car suspected of involvement in an earlier shooting. But records emerged after the trial began that officers weren't listening to the channel broadcasting the radio traffic about the suspect's car. The judge said a city lawyer "intentionally concealed" that evidence.

The judge on Monday tossed a jury's finding in April that the police shooting was justified, ordered a new trial and instructed the city to pay attorney's fees to the plaintiffs.

"Attorneys who might be tempted to bury late-surfacing information need to know that, if discovered, any verdict they win will be forfeit and their clients will pay the price," the judge wrote. He said Jordan Marsh, a senior corporation counsel, also later lied about when he was aware of the evidence.

The judge also accused the law department, which defends city employees accused of wrongdoing, of shoddy record-keeping, saying it contributed to the problem in the Pinex case.

The city law department announced Marsh's resignation later Monday, saying it "does not tolerate any action that would call into question the integrity of the lawyers who serve" Chicago. It also said it was reviewing its training and evidence-gathering procedures.

But a lawyer for the Pinex family, Steve Greenberg, said Marsh's actions reflect on the city law department as a whole. He accused the department of not acting quickly enough when it realized its attorney wasn't forthcoming about critical evidence.

"It shows the city hasn't just fought to protect officers, it also fights tooth and nail to protect its lawyers," he said. "I don't think they cared that (Pinex) got killed, they didn't care what the truth was and they didn't care they cheated (with the evidence)."

A city law department spokesman said he did not have a way to leave a message for Marsh seeking comment. And there was no public telephone listing for a Jordan Marsh in Chicago.

Also Monday, the head of the Independent Police Review Authority -- which is responsible for investigating complaints of excessive for by officers -- told reporters that greater openness about ongoing investigations would be a point of emphasis as she tries to win the lost confidence of Chicagoans, many of which believe the agency has operated for years to bury police wrongdoing.

Sharon Fairley said IPRA still won't be able to divulge all the details about investigations while they are underway. But she added: "The difference is we are no longer going to be standing by a hard-and-fast rule that we will never discuss the details of an investigation until it's complete. I think that position is now untenable."

In McDonald's case, IPRA and city officials cited the ongoing investigation in not making the video public for more than a year. It was released Nov. 24 following a state court order. It showed Officer Jason Van Dyke shooting McDonald 16 times as he walked away from police carrying a folded 3-inch knife.

Protests sparked by the video included some directed at IPRA, which was created in 2007 ostensibly with the independence it needed to hold officers accountable. But in practice, it rarely ruled against officers.

Fairley also announced several other reforms, including the hiring of a new chief of staff, a new chief investigator and the creation of a new community outreach position.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel appointed Fairley, a former federal prosecutor, to head IPRA last month after her predecessor resigned amid the growing protests.

Fairley also announced Monday that she was not aware of any video of another recent disputed police shooting.

On Dec. 27, police fatally shot 55-year-old Bettie Jones, who authorities said was killed accidentally, and 19-year-old Quintonio LeGrier, who police said was being "combative." Both were black.

Attorneys for Jones' family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city Monday. A wrongful death lawsuit was filed last week by the father of LeGrier.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Crew enters Hawaii dome for 8-month Mars study

    World News Toronto Sun
    Six carefully selected scientists have entered a man-made dome on a remote Hawaii volcano as part of a human-behaviour study that could help NASA as it draws up plans for sending astronauts on long missions to Mars. Source
  • Car plows into pedestrians in Melbourne leaving 1 dead, several hurt

    World News CTV News
    SYDNEY, Australia - One person was killed and several others were seriously injured after a car plowed into pedestrians in Australia's second-largest city on Friday, prompting a major police operation as officials told the public to stay away from the area. Source
  • Actor Miguel Ferrer dead at 61, cousin George Clooney pays tribute

    World News CBC News
    Miguel Ferrer, who brought stern authority to his featured role on CBS' hit NCIS: Los Angeles and, years earlier, to NBC crime drama Crossing Jordan, has died. CBS said Ferrer died Thursday of cancer at his Los Angeles home. Source
  • 1 dead, many hurt as car plowed through pedestrians in Melbourne, Australia

    World News Toronto Sun
    SYDNEY, Australia — One person was killed and several others were seriously injured after a car plowed into pedestrians in Australia’s second-largest city on Friday, prompting a major police operation as officials told the public to stay away from the area. Source
  • Woman admits to killing mother with hammer, pleads guilty to manslaughter

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    A woman accused of beating her mother to death with a hammer and nearly severing her neck with a knife pleaded guilty to manslaughter in Alberta Court of Queen's Bench on Thursday. Kirsten Michelle Lamb, 33, had been accused of second-degree murder in the November 2010 death of her mother, Sandra Lamb, 49. Source
  • Man taken, killed by crocodile while wading across Australian river

    World News Toronto Sun
    DARWIN, Australia — A 47-year-old man has been killed by crocodile while trying to cross a flooded river in northern Australian wilderness, police said Friday. The man had been wading through the East Alligator River in the Northern Territory with two women on Thursday when he disappeared at Cahill’s Crossing near the World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park, a police statement said. Source
  • Canadians plead guilty to violations at parks across U.S. West

    Canada News CTV News
    BILLINGS, Mont. -- Three Canadians will be banned from federal lands for five years after pleading guilty to walking on a sensitive hot spring in Yellowstone National Park and other crimes at parks across the Western U.S. Source
  • Details on Donald Trump's Inauguration Day

    World News Toronto Sun
    U.S. Presidential Inauguration Day Ceremony When: Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, beginning at 9:30 a.m. ET Where: West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building Forecast: 7C and cloudy, with a 70% chance rain; Light wind Watch in Canada: CBC/CTV begin live coverage at 10 a.m. Source
  • Genie Bouchard out of Australian Open after 3-set loss

    Canada News CBC News
    Canada's Eugenie Bouchard is out of the Australian Open after losing her third-round match to American Coco Vandeweghe, 6-4, 3-6, 7-5, Thursday in Melbourne (Friday local time.) With the win, Vandeweghe is the first woman through to the fourth round. Source
  • Trump pays $25M to settle Trump University cases

    World News Toronto Sun
    SAN DIEGO — President-elect Donald Trump has paid $25 million to settle three lawsuits against his now-defunct Trump University, signalling that a judge’s approval of a settlement agreement remains on track for March 30. Trump Entrepreneur Initiative LLC paid the money into escrow ahead of Wednesday’s deadline, said plaintiff attorney Jason Forge, who represented people who took seminars that promised to teach success in real estate. Source