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

  • Myanmar soldiers jailed for killing civilians in rare trial

    World News CTV News
    BANGKOK -- A Myanmar military tribunal has sentenced six soldiers to 10 years in prison with hard labour for killing three civilians in war-torn Kachin state, officials said Saturday, in a move welcomed by rights groups. Source
  • Magnitude 6.3 earthquake shakes northern Chile

    World News CTV News
    SANTIAGO, Chile - The U.S. Geological Survey says a magnitude 6.3 earthquake has struck northern Chile. The quake, which was deep at 110 kilometres (68 miles), struck at 10:06 p.m. local time Saturday. The epicenter in Tarapaca was 76 kilometres (47 miles) east of the city of Putre, and 118 kilometres (73 miles) southeast of the Peruvian city of Tacna. Source
  • Speed Skating Canada investigating 'substantive' complaints against head coach

    Canada News CBC News
    The head of Speed Skating Canada tells CBC News the organization is investigating "substantive" complaints against its head coach, Michael Crowe. CEO Susan Auch says the organization forced Crowe to leave his position on Jan. 9, just a month before the Winter Olympics after a number of athletes and coaches came forward. Source
  • Haz-mat investigators descend on 3rd Toronto property tied to accused killer Bruce McArthur

    Canada News CBC News
    A haz-mat team descended Saturday on a third Toronto property associated with Bruce McArthur, the accused killer of two men who vanished from the Gay Village last spring. Resident Stephen Haskett said he first noticed police in the neighbourhood Thursday, but didn't realize at the time why they were there. Source
  • Forensic investigators descend on 3rd Toronto property tied to accused killer Bruce McArthur

    Canada News CBC News
    A haz-mat team descended Saturday on a third Toronto property associated with Bruce McArthur, the accused killer of two men who vanished from the Gay Village last spring. Resident Stephen Haskett said he first noticed police in the neighbourhood Thursday, but didn't realize at the time why they were there. Source
  • Blaze at firecracker factory outside New Delhi kills at least 17

    World News CTV News
    NEW DELHI -- A massive fire broke out at a firecracker factory on the northern outskirts of the Indian capital on Saturday, killing at least 17 workers, a fire official said. A dozen fire engines took three hours to douse the fire in the Bawana industrial area of New Delhi. Source
  • B.C. school trustee vows to stay following controversial LGBTQ remarks

    Canada News CTV News
    CHILLIWACK, B.C. -- A school board trustee in British Columbia is vowing to stay in his job, despite calls that he resign over controversial remarks he made about LGBTQ issues. Barry Neufeld says in a statement that he "must" remain on the Chilliwack Board of Education to protect "impressionable children. Source
  • Tens of thousands stage anti-corruption protest in Romania

    World News CTV News
    BUCHAREST, Romania -- Tens of thousands of Romanians on Saturday protested against legislation passed by Parliament which critics say will make it harder to prosecute crime and high-level corruption. Protesters briefly scuffled with riot police as they massed in Bucharest's University Square. Source
  • Shutdown challenges Trump's brand as notorious dealmaker

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- He wrote a book on the art of negotiation and was elected to office claiming he alone could end Washington gridlock, but U.S. President Donald Trump's latest attempt to broker a big, bipartisan deal has turned into a big mess. Source
  • Manitoba woman charged after man stabbed, house lit on fire

    Canada News CTV News
    A Manitoba woman is facing multiple charges after allegedly stabbing a man and setting his house on fire. RCMP said the incident happened Friday in Lynn Lake, a remote community more than 1,000 kilometres north of Winnipeg. Source