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

  • Israel marks Holocaust remembrance day with sombre ceremony

    World News CTV News
    JERUSALEM - Israel is marking its annual Holocaust remembrance day in memory of the 6 million Jews systematically killed by Nazi Germany and its collaborators during World War II. It is one of the most melancholy days on Israel's calendar. Source
  • Author and conservationist Kuki Gallmann shot in Kenya

    World News CTV News
    NAIROBI, Kenya -- The Italian-born author and conservationist Kuki Gallmann was shot at her Kenyan ranch and airlifted for treatment after herders invaded in search of pasture to save their animals from drought, officials said Sunday. Source
  • 'Party girl' stereotype played role in cabbie sex-assault case: professor

    Canada News CTV News
    HALIFAX -- The stereotype of the "promiscuous party girl" may have factored into the acquittal of a Halifax cab driver accused of sexually assaulting a woman in his car, a review of the case suggests. Source
  • What's next for the Montreal Canadiens?

    Canada News CBC News
    The Montreal Canadiens face a long summer filled with plenty of questions after last night's disappointing first-round exit. "It's a bitter disappointment," Carey Price said after losing 3-1 in Game 6. "We couldn't catch a break all series. Source
  • Some sex assault complainants turning to human rights tribunal to seek change

    Canada News CTV News
    The challenges of criminally prosecuting sexual assault cases have some complainants turning to human rights tribunals in an effort to bring about systemic change and seek restitution. The latest case involves a complaint by a woman against the University of Toronto that was filed with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario earlier this month. Source
  • Medical student accused of murder 'fully participating' in defence: lawyer

    Canada News CTV News
    HALIFAX -- The murder trial of a former Halifax medical student resumes Monday, with his lawyer calling him a "model client" who has been unusually involved in his defence. William Sandeson, 24, received special permission to use a computer while on remand at the Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility in Halifax so he could review case material, said defence lawyer Eugene Tan. Source
  • 'Thoroughly disappointed': Leafs fan out $800 in apparent playoff ticket scam

    Canada News CTV News
    Playoff tickets across the country have been in high demand, but if you’re looking for a bargain, better beware of possible scammers looking to take advantage. Mike Michea doled hundreds of dollars to attend Game 6 of the Toronto Maple Leafs-Washington Capitals first-round playoff series, behind held at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto on Sunday. Source
  • U.K. reality TV star's ex-boyfriend arrested in nightclub acid attack

    World News Toronto Sun
    LONDON — British police say they have arrested the ex-boyfriend of a reality TV performer sought in connection to an acid attack at an east London nightclub. Police said Sunday that Arthur Collins had been arrested late Saturday night on suspicion of attempted murder. Source
  • Sessions on Hawaii remark: 'Nobody has a sense of humour'

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON - Attorney General Jeff Sessions says "nobody has a sense of humour anymore." That's his assessment after drawing ire for seeming to dismiss the state of Hawaii as merely "an island in the Pacific. Source
  • Former Calgary man Farah Mohamed Shirdon 1 of 2 Canadians added to U.S. terrorist list

    Canada News CBC News
    The U.S. Department of State has added two Canadians to its most-wanted global terrorist list. Farah Mohamed Shirdon and Tarek Sakr were named as "Specially Designated Global Terrorists," according to a release from the State Department. Source