After police crisis, Chicago's city law department now facing scrutiny

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel was on the defensive again Tuesday, dealing with the fallout from a judge's opinion accusing a top city lawyer of hiding evidence in another case involving a fatal police shooting.

See Full Article

Unlike the earlier setbacks that dealt with the actions of police officers, though, this one involves the work of the city's law department, where attorneys map strategies for dealing with lawsuits against the police force.

At a news conference, Emanuel repeated his call for "zero tolerance" for a city employee not holding professional standards, "especially an individual representing the city in a courtroom." But attorneys for people who have accused the police department of wrongdoing allege that the case shows the city plays a role in covering up for police misconduct.

"It shows the city hasn't just fought to protect officers; it also fights tooth and nail to protect its lawyers," said Steve Greenberg, an attorney for the family of Darius Pinex, a black man shot and killed by police during a 2011 traffic stop in Chicago. "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)."

Emanuel has been on his heels since the November release of video showing a police officer shooting a black teenager 16 times, and has been trying to restore confidence in his leadership while quelling calls for him to resign.

Prosecutors charged the white officer with first-degree murder in the 2014 death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald hours before dashcam video went out. But that, the ouster of the police superintendent and Emanuel's promises of reforms haven't quieted his critics.

In Pinex's case, the officers who stopped his car testified that they did so because it matched a car involved in a shooting they had heard about over their police radio. They said they shot Pinex after he refused their orders and put his car in reverse.

But records later emerged showing that the officers weren't listening to the channel broadcasting the radio traffic about the car involved in the earlier shooting. In his ruling Monday in a lawsuit brought by Pinex's relatives, U.S. District Judge Edmond Chang said a city attorney "intentionally concealed" that evidence.

Emanuel didn't specify Tuesday what steps he'll take in light of the accusations against the city attorney, Jordan Marsh, who resigned after Monday's opinion was handed down. Nor would he say whether he would order a full review of Marsh's work, noting that his top legal adviser, Stephen Patton "is going through the pieces right now in that area."

Torreya L. Hamilton, a private lawyer, said Chang also sanctioned the city's law department for not being forthcoming with evidence in a case in which she was helping represent a man who accused police of false arrest and an illegal search. She said the problem is bigger than a single city lawyer going astray.

"There is a culture there of, 'We are protecting the good guys, police, against bad guys and so we should be able to bend the rules to protect them," said Hamilton. "I have seen time and time again that (city lawyers) are not held to the same rules."

There is no indication that Emanuel's job is in immediate jeopardy, but he continues to face protests and criticism over the police issues. On Monday, Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner said he was "very disappointed" with the way the Democratic mayor has handled police misconduct cases and that, if given the opportunity, he would sign off on legislation that would let voters try to recall the mayor.

Emanuel said he won't step down and currently there is no law that allows for him to be recalled. And the calls for his resignation have largely come from grassroots activists and residents, not from the city's political powerbrokers.

-----

Associated Press writer Michael Tarm contributed to this story.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Deadly 7.1 magnitude earthquake hits central Mexico [Video]

    World News Toronto Sun
    MEXICO CITY — A magnitude 7.1 earthquake jolted central Mexico on Tuesday, collapsing some buildings, cracking the facades of others and scattering rubble on streets on the anniversary of a devastating 1985 quake. The quake caused buildings to sway sickeningly in Mexico City and sent panicked office workers streaming into the streets, but the full extent of the damage was not yet clear. Source
  • Suspect tells court he had sex with prostitute, but didn't rape and beat her

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    The suspect in the brutal rape of a Calgary woman in a downtown parkade testified Tuesday someone else was responsible for the attack. Andy Dick Ntunaguza told a two-woman, 10-man jury he had consensual sex with the woman after paying her $50. Source
  • Washington state school shooting suspect pleads not guilty

    World News Toronto Sun
    SPOKANE, Wash. — A 15-year-old boy accused of killing a student at his rural Washington state high school and wounding three others has pleaded not guilty to charges of first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder, according to court documents made public Tuesday. Source
  • From 'bold' to 'ignorant': world leaders react to Trump's UN speech

    World News CTV News
    Reaction from around the world to President Donald Trump's speech Tuesday to the U.N. General Assembly: Margot Wallstrom, foreign minister of Sweden: "This was a bombastic, nationalist speech. It must have been decades since one last heard a speech like that in the U.N. Source
  • Trudeau says Canada ready to help Mexico after deadly earthquake

    Canada News CTV News
    OTTAWA -- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada is ready to help "our friends" in Mexico following a magnitude 7.1 earthquake that killed dozens and collapsed buildings. Calling the quake in central Mexico "devastating," Trudeau said on Twitter that his thoughts are with those affected by the disaster. Source
  • 100,000 Canadian victims: What we know about the Equifax breach — and what we don't

    Canada News CBC News
    It's been nearly two weeks since the credit monitoring company Equifax admitted it had suffered one of the largest data breaches in recent memory — exposing the personal information of a whopping 143 million U.S. consumers. Source
  • Dog’s carcass dragged on Alabama highway

    World News Toronto Sun
    BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — The Alabama Department of Transportation says “appropriate action will be taken” after photos were posted to Facebook showing a department truck dragging a dog’s body on an interstate. Al.com reports April Bennett was driving with her 5-year-old son on Interstate 20 on Tuesday when she spotted the lifeless body of a dog, which she says appeared to be a German shepherd, being dragged behind the truck. Source
  • Bedroom sharing rules shut door on affordable housing for some families

    Canada News CBC News
    Remember the mixed-gender nursery with Wendy and the boys in Peter Pan? It turns out the Darling parents could never have let their children share stories in one bedroom if they lived in a Canadian co-op that follows the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation's (CMHC) National Occupancy Standard. Source
  • Indigenous design team to represent Canada at 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale

    Canada News CTV News
    OTTAWA -- An Indigenous design team led by architect Douglas Cardinal will represent Canada at the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale. The Canada Council for the Arts says their project, titled "Unceded," reflects "on our country's need for reconciliation. Source
  • Sinkhole swallows part of Florida home [Photos]

    World News Toronto Sun
    APOPKA, Fla. — A Florida home has been partially swallowed up by a massive sinkhole. Orange County Fire Rescue spokeswoman Kat Kennedy says crews responded Tuesday morning, shortly after the Apopka house began sinking. She says the sinkhole measured about 20 feet across and 15 feet deep. Source