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.


Latest Canada & World News

  • Protest over shooting of unarmed black man overtakes freeway

    World News CTV News
    SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Protesters decrying this week's fatal shooting of an unarmed black man marched from Sacramento City Hall and onto a nearby freeway Thursday, disrupting rush hour traffic and holding signs with messages like "Sac PD: Stop killing us!" Source
  • Quebec man convicted in pit-bull mauling to be sentenced today

    Canada News CTV News
    LONGUEUIL, Que. - A Quebec man whose pit bull-type dog mauled a young girl in 2015 will be sentenced today. In convicting Karim Jean Gilles last month, the judge in the case suggested the sentence would be longer than the three years the Crown recommended. Source
  • Expert who warned of 'incarcerating' people with disabilities speaks at inquiry

    Canada News CTV News
    HALIFAX -- The author of a study that sounded an alarm over confining Nova Scotians with intellectual disabilities in a psychiatric ward has testified the "incarcerated" residents were denied their human rights and good care practices. Source
  • Most of over 150 stranded whales die on Australian beach

    World News CBC News
    More than 150 whales have become stranded in Hamelin Bay in western Australia, and only 15 of them were still alive on Friday, authorities said. The mammals are believed to be short-finned pilot whales. The stranded animals were first spotted by a commercial fisherman early on Friday morning. Source
  • Tories force all-night votes in bid to force testimony from PM's adviser

    Canada News CBC News
    Conservatives are forcing MPs to stay up all night voting continuously on more than 250 motions — a filibuster launched in retaliation for the Liberals voting down a Tory motion to call Justin Trudeau's national security adviser to testify at a House of Commons committee about the prime minister's disastrous trip to India. Source
  • Peru's congress ready to replace scandal-tainted president

    World News CTV News
    LIMA, Peru -- Peru's congress is expected to vote Friday to accept President Pedro Pablo Kuczysnki's resignation and swear in as his replacement a politician who the vast majority of voters never even heard of until recently. Source
  • Condo fire in southern Vietnam kills at least 13

    World News CBC News
    A fire at a condominium complex in Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh City early Friday morning killed at least 13 people and injured another 27, police said. State media said most people died of suffocation or jumping from high floors. Source
  • Former Playboy model says Trump tried to pay her after sex

    World News CBC News
    A former Playboy model apologized to Melania Trump for a 10-month affair she claims she had with U.S. President Donald Trump that started with him offering her money after the first time they had sex. During an interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper that aired Thursday night, Karen McDougal said Trump tried to pay her after their first sexual tryst at a bungalow at the Beverly Hills Hotel in 2006. Source
  • Family finally learns fate of Canadian shot down over Germany in 1944

    Canada News CTV News
    More than 73 years after 23 Allied soldiers and airmen perished when the transport plane they were flying in was shot down over Nazi Germany, one of their families finally has answers about their grandfather’s last day during the war. Source
  • Gone extinct: Animatronic T-Rex bursts into flames

    World News CTV News
    CANON CITY, Colo. -- The co-owner of a dinosaur-themed park in southern Colorado thinks an electrical malfunction caused a life-size animatronic Tyrannosaurus Rex to burst into flames. Zach Reynolds says the T-Rex at the Royal Gorge Dinosaur Experience smouldered for about 10 minutes before it caught fire Thursday morning. Source