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

  • Dad of Hawaii boy who vanished in 1997 is sentenced in death

    World News Toronto Sun
    HONOLULU — The father of a 6-year-old Hawaii boy who disappeared two decades ago was sentenced Monday to 20 years in prison for manslaughter, fulfilling a deal with prosecutors that required him to reveal the location of his son’s body. Source
  • Brazilians funneled as 'slaves' by U.S. church, ex-members say

    World News CTV News
    SPINDALE, N.C. -- When Andre Oliveira answered the call to leave his Word of Faith Fellowship congregation in Brazil to move to the mother church in North Carolina at the age of 18, his passport and money were confiscated by church leaders -- for safekeeping, he said he was told. Source
  • Drug overdose suspected in death of Canadian yoga innovator

    Canada News CTV News
    VICTORIA - A Canadian yoga innovator, Buddhist and author has died of a suspected drug overdose after his family said he took street drugs in Victoria. Michael Stone, who offered compassion and collaboration yoga and meditation retreats worldwide, died earlier this month two days after being found unresponsive on July 14. Source
  • Murray Sinclair to probe Thunder Bay police

    Canada News CTV News
    The man who led the Truth and Reconciliation Commission that condemned Canada's history with residential schools will now oversee a probe into a northwestern Ontario city's police services board as the community grapples with tensions between its police force and Indigenous residents. Source
  • ISIS fighters executed

    World News Toronto Sun
    Eighteen ISIS fanatics discovered karma is, indeed, a bitch. Shocking video emerging from Libya shows the 18 men in orange jumpsuits having their brains blown out in summary executions. The jihadists are shown kneeling as their executioners walk behind them before sending them to oblivion with assault rifle bullets to the head. Source
  • Dark web kingpin loved wild Thailand

    World News Toronto Sun
    The Canadian prince of the dark web who hanged himself in a Thai jail cell was enamoured with the Asian country. Alexandre Cazes, 25, committed suicide July 12 as law enforcement was poised to hammer him for running AlphaBay - an online supermarket for dope, guns and sex. Source
  • Toronto-area man charged with hate crime over alleged online comments

    Canada News CTV News
    MISSISSAUGA, Ont. - A Toronto-area man has been charged with a hate crime after police allege he made a number of statements against the Muslim community online. Police would not say what the alleged comments were, only that they were made through social media over five months. Source
  • 4 meetings with Russians disclosed by Jared Kushner

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, disclosed in a statement to members of Congress four distinct interactions with Russians during the presidential campaign and transition period. The 11-page statement provides his first detailed account of meetings over the last year with the Russian ambassador to the United States, a Russian lawyer and a Russian banker. Source
  • 14-year-old girl drowns after trying to save dog in Edmonton

    Canada News CTV News
    A 14-year-old girl has died after trying to rescue a dog in a retention pond in north Edmonton, a family friend confirms to CTV News. Khrystna Maksymova was walking the neighbour’s dog with her younger sister before she died, a family friend told CTV Edmonton. Source
  • Pakistan: Suicide bombing in Lahore kills 26, wounds 54

    World News CTV News
    LAHORE, Pakistan -- A suicide bomber struck near a police team in the eastern city of Lahore Monday killing at least 26 and wounding another 54, many of them police officers. An outlawed Taliban faction claimed responsibility. Source