Former Teacher Patrick McCarthy Sues Schaumburg And Detective

 Patrick McCarthy, a former special education teacher at Robert Frost Junior High School, has filed a lawsuit against the Village of Schaumburg and detective K. Feeley alleging malicious prosecution. Back in 2007, McCarthy was charged with battery and unlawful restraint against three autistic children in his class. He was accused of forcing a student to jump on a trampoline with a weighted vest and tying a student to a chair. Last December Cook County Circuit Court judge John Scotillo found McCarthy not guilty. In his suit, McCarthy alleges that Detective Feeley charged him knowing that he was innocent.

Jury Awards Ryan Hallett $450,000

 A jury in Rockford, Illinois has awarded plaintiff Ryan Hallett $450,000 in his civil rights trial against Village of Richmond police officer Brian Quilici. Hallett claimed that he was handcuffed, beaten and kicked in the face by Quilici outside a bar. Hallett was represented by Russell Ainsworth from the law firm of Loevy & Loevy. 

Chicago Police Officer Murdered - A Sad Day in Chicago

          

View more news videos at: http://www.nbcchicago.com/video.

According to news reports:  

A plainclothes Chicago police officer died this afternoon after being shot in the head and critically wounded early this morning in the West Englewood neighborhood on the South Side, authorities said.
Alejandro "Alex" Valadez, 27, died about 2:40 p.m., police Supt. Jody Weis said.

Valadez is the third officer killed in the line of duty in the past 12 months. Officer Nathaniel Taylor, 39, a 14-year veteran, was shot and killed in September while trying to execute a search warrant against a suspected narcotics dealer. Officer Richard Francis, 60, was fatally shot in July during a struggle with a woman causing a disruption on a bus.

Police sources said detectives were questioning at least one suspect Monday evening, but no charges had been filed. Weis said there was progress in the case but declined to be more specific.

Standing across the street from Stroger Hospital, Weis confirmed that Valadez had died. He said Valadez had been on life support and his family had donated his organs. Weis called Valadez, a "great officer'' who had distinguished himself in his three-year career.

"At the beginning of his career he distinguished himself on a team working on special missions," Weis said.

Weis said Valadez' killing will have a "devastating effect" on the officer's friends, family and co-workers and all Chicago residents.

"[It] should have a devastating effect upon all members and citizens of the City of Chicago," said Weis. "This type of violence can befall a Chicago police officer out doing his job sends a clear message about how dangerous it is in some of our communities."

Family members would not comment on the officer's death but Weis said that Valadez' brother, sister and fiancee are all police officers. He said while the family knew the risks that come with the job he said the family was, "devastated."

Valadez's brother is assigned to the Ogden District and a sister assigned to the evidence and recovered property section. The dead officer's girlfriend also is a police officer who works in the Englewood District, the source said.

Weis refused to comment on the investigation but said police have, "some people we are looking at."

"I'm very confident in the investigative leads that we have right now,'' said Weis.

Valadez's shooting occurred about 12:30 a.m. in the 6000 block of South Hermitage Avenue as the three-year veteran and his partner were investigating a report of shots fired, Weis said at a news conference earlier today after the shooting.

The shots were fired from a vehicle with more than one person in it, Weis said. He refused to provide a description of the vehicle which he said was being processed by police.

Sources said investigators found the vehicle believed to be used in the homicide blocks away with spent shell casings inside that appeared to come from a .40-caliber gun, believed to be used in the shooting.

Other police sources said investigators were "zeroing in" on suspects and hoped to announce arrests soon. Weis would only say: "There are some very good investigative leads right now."

Wentworth Area detectives are investigating the case, he said.

In addition to a head wound, Valadez was wounded in the leg, Weis said.

Valadez was taken to Stroger Hospital in critical condition and died there later.

The officer joined the Chicago Police Department in December 2005 and was most
recently assigned to the Englewood District, police said. Valadez earned a department commendation and 22 honorable mentions.

Investigators recovered shell casings at the scene. Several teams were stationed along Hermitage between 62nd and 60th Streets, including near the field at the southeast corner of Charles W. Earle Elementary School and in an alley in the 6000 block between Hermitage and Wood Street.

Valadez and his partner never let up on assignments and stayed hours after their midnight shift to finish the job, said Englewood Cmdr. Keith Calloway.

Calloway recalled seeing Valadez a few weeks ago at 10 a.m., three hours after his shift had ended, as he worked on paperwork to get a suspected carjacker charged. "These guys never really got tired," Calloway said.

"They'd run from hot car to hot car. Just hardworking and dedicated."

Valadez had an outgoing personality and was warm and well-liked, Calloway said.

As reporters converged on Valadez's neighborhood after his shooting, neighbors said they had heard about the tragedy.

Neighbor Julia Gonzalez, 39, said she had a sinking feeling when she saw the reporters and noticed the police car in front of the officer's home. She said the officer moved into the area about a year ago. She described him as friendly and a "good neighbor."

She said that he assisted her in getting aid to an injured rabbit she had on her property. She said the officer often worked on his home with his father, and she often saw him leave for work in the morning.

"I felt safe living next door because he is a police officer," said Gonzalez. "I pray for him."

At Stroger Hospital earlier today, about 30 people -- a mixture of friends and police officers -- gathered outside the emergency room.

Men embraced other men, crying and talking in Spanish. One woman, who identified herself as a friend, had a single tear streaming down her face. She and two others declined to talk. 

Our hearts and prayers go out to officer Valdez's family.   

Cook County Judge: OK To Subpoena John Burge As A Witness

According to the PR/Newswire:  

Cook County Judge Clayton Crane ruled Wednesday that attorneys for Cortez Brown may begin a process to subpoena former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge to testify about the beating inflicted on Brown during a 1990 murder investigation. Brown falsely confessed to the crime after Burge's subordinates bludgeoned him with a flashlight and committed other abuses. He continues to languish in state prison due to the wrongful conviction.  Seeking to void that conviction, Locke Bowman, Legal Director of the Roderick MacArthur Justice Center, and Attorney for Cortez Brown sought leave to subpoena Burge and former Detective Tony Maslanka, who currently live out-of-state, as material witnesses. The certification that Burge and Maslanka are material witnesses in the Brown case permits the attorneys to seek a subpoena within the jurisdiction in which Burge and Maslanka live. In 1990, Brown was arrested for the murders of Devin Boelter and Curtis Sims. Brown alleges that Area 3 police detectives John O'Brien, John Paladino and Tony Maslanka - all of whom worked directly under Burge - verbally threatened him and beat him repeatedly with fists and a flashlight until he agreed to submit a bogus confession to the crimes.  At trials for both murders, Brown's coerced confessions were the principal evidence used to tie him to the alleged crimes. And in both cases, the larger pattern of atrocities that Burge inflicted on other black suspects was not revealed. Burge is currently under federal indictment for perjury and obstruction of justice based on his sworn denials that suspects were abused and tortured. Brown finished serving the 30 year sentence imposed on him for one of the murders, but seeks release from his natural life sentence for the second.

 

Chicago Cops Acquitted in Jefferson Tap Bar Beating

The Chicago Tribune is reporting: 

"A Chicago police sergeant and two officers were acquitted today in connection with the off-duty beating of several patrons at a West Loop bar in December 2006.

Following a bench trial several weeks ago, Circuit Judge Thomas V. Gainer Jr. found Sgt. Jeffery Planey and Officers Gregory Barnes and Paul Powers not guilty of aggravated battery charges in the attack at the Jefferson Tap and Grille.

The judge also acquitted Planey of obstruction of justice and official misconduct for allegedly waving away on-duty police responding to a silent alarm from the bar. Security video was central to the prosecution case, but only Planey was caught on the tape getting physical with one victim.

Gainer was brief in his comments, saying he had reviewed all the testimony at trial as well as security videotapes and audio from a 911 call.

"After doing all of that, I have come to the conclusion that the state has failed to meet its burden in the charges against these men," he said.

"Prosecutors had alleged the officers jumped brothers Barry and Aaron Gilfand and two of their friends as they played pool. When police showed up at the bar, the off-duty officers felt they wouldn't be held accountable because Planey formerly worked in the district, Assistant State's Atty. Lauren Freeman said in closing arguments.

Attorneys for the officers said the attack was provoked by the alleged victims mocking Powers for crying over the recent death of his father. They contended the Gilfands exaggerated their injuries and altered their accounts of that night to boost their chances at winning a lot of money in their pending federal lawsuit against the officers and the city. Barnes' attorney, William Fahy, said that describing the Gilfands as victims was an insult to real crime victims, calling the brothers "a couple of loud-mouthed drunks." Fahy said Aaron Gilfand recently identified Barnes as his attacker for the first time after the state's only independent witness, bartender Lindsay Vanderford, said in a deposition for the lawsuit that she could have been mistaken about her identification of Barnes. During the trial, Vanderford again admitted that she was likely mistaken about her identification.

In his defense of Planey, attorney Thomas Needham stitched together dozens of bits of evidence, testimony and what he argued were reasonable inferences in an attempt to persuade Gainer that his client did not order or intend to send police away from the scene. Planey, the only defendant whose alleged crimes were captured on security video, faces two counts of aggravated battery for his alleged attack on Barry Gilfand -- that he caused bodily harm and that he insulted the alleged victim through his actions. But Needham said Gilfand was uninjured and that just because the sergeant pushed him against the wall did not mean he insulted Gilfand. Attorney Lori Lightfoot said her client, Powers, could not have assaulted Barry Gilfand in the manner he described because his testimony is contradicted by his appearance in security video moments after the alleged attack and the absence of bruises or significant injury." 

 

Amanda Antholt who represents plaintiffs in a lawsuit against these officers and the City of Chicago says she is disappointed with the verdict but she is confident that the civil suit will provide "justice" for her clients.

We will wait and see what happens in the civil case.  For now - congrats to the criminal defense team.  

United States Supreme Court Limits Vehicle Searches By Police

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court held the following in Arizona v. Gant:  Holding: Police may search a vehicle incident to a recent occupant’s arrest only if the arrestee is within reaching distance of the passenger compartment at the time of the search or it is reasonable to believe the vehicle contains evidence of the offense of arrest. When these justifications are absent, a search of an arrestee’s vehicle will be unreasonable unless police obtain a warrant or show that another exception to the warrant requirement applies 

Police Superintendent Jody P. Weis Explains Why He Would Not Release Police Officers Names

In todays Chicago Sun-Times, Superintendent Jody P. Weis wrote the following letter to the editor: 

Serving and protecting the residents of the City of Chicago is a priority for the Chicago Police Department. To do this effectively, the department must work with the communities that we serve, building mutual support and trust. With this in mind, I would like to address my recent decision to initially defy a court order dealing with the release of police officer names on a so-called "repeater" list.
My decision to initially defy Judge Gettleman's order was not an easy one. As superintendent of the Chicago Police Department, I was deeply concerned about the effect that disclosing this list might have on the well-being, safety and reputations of the vast majority of the men and women of the Chicago Police Department who work hard every day to serve our city.

As the chief law enforcement officer for the Chicago Police Department, I am committed to the rule of law and ensuring quality relations with the judiciary. I thought that it was extremely important, though, for the judge to have a complete understanding of the potentially serious consequences of this information becoming public and the effects that might have on the day-to-day operations of the Chicago Police Department. For the well- being of our officers, and for the citizens that they serve, I wanted to be sure that our arguments were heard by the court.

I also want everyone to recognize that the city actually provided the plaintiff with a redacted list. We felt that this information would allow the plaintiff to conduct the statistical analysis that they claimed was necessary, without individual names.

Identifying officers as "repeaters" based on the mere fact that an officer has received more than five complaints in a six-year period, even though the complaints may have been found to be false or their actions were found to be justified under the law, is not fair. On other occasions, the individual filing the complaint did not follow through and sign the affidavit as required by state law, which would have them state that their complaint is true. In those instances, the complaints are closed. Just last year, 62 percent of all complaints were closed due to the lack of the required affidavit.

Again, my intent was to ensure the safety and security of our officers and the city. I continue to disagree with the judge's ruling, but I have made my concerns known in the strongest way possible. As I said in the statement that I filed with the court, plaintiffs would use this list to wrongfully label thousands of Chicago police officers as repeat offenders. This is particularly unfair given that Chicago has an open complaint system, in which all complaints are registered regardless of merit, and the list would include all complaints, regardless of outcome.

Furthermore, if an officer is asked whether his/her name is on the repeater list in open court, they would be forced to answer "yes," without the ability to explain the circumstances. I believe that this will lead to unnecessary lawsuits against officers improperly labeled, and more importantly, to officers second-guessing their actions when we need them to act without hesitation. That is why, after very careful consideration, I initially refused to turn over this list to the court.

I am still concerned about the protections available to those officers who will be included on this list. I am concerned for their well-being, for their careers and for their futures if they appear in court.

The city will aggressively work to ensure that the protective order governing the production of this list remains in full force and effect.

As superintendent, I am committed to leading a department that will increase the respect and cooperation between our members and the public. We will strive for this in a way that is reasonable, well-intentioned and respectful of everyone.

Jody P. Weis,

superintendent of police,

Chicago 

Chicago Police Lieutenants Association President Speaks Out On The Release of Citizen Complaints

 

Here is an article by Robert Weisskopf, president of the Chicago Police Lieutenants Association:

Here in the United States of America, citizens have the right to be treated as innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. If there is an allegation of wrongdoing made against an individual and it is not sustained, then the there should be no presumption of guilt. I think this is obvious logic.

However, here in Chicago a federal court recently determined that a list of Chicago Police Department officers with five or more charges of excessive force must be released to an attorney. This list is being referred to as a list of officers guilty of excessive force.

Most of the allegations made against the officers on the list have not been sustained. As a matter of fact, very few of these allegations have even been sustained. All of these allegations have been investigated either by the former Office of Professional Standards or the new Independent Police Review Authority.

Here is the way it works: A hard-working police officer makes arrests. Many make 200 or more arrests a year. That is not uncommon. Unfortunately not all arrestees say, "Thank you, Officer. No hard feelings." To try to get a little vengeance against an officer, they file a complaint. I have heard that it is not uncommon for a defense attorney to recommend that a client immediately file an accusation of excessive force against the arresting officer to try to muddy the waters and help the case.

The Independent Police Review Authority is required to investigate any and all complaints of excessive force regardless of how outlandish and outrageous the complaints may be. It does its best to thoroughly investigate these allegations. It is not trying to cover up any wrongdoing. In the end the evidence only supports a sustained finding on a small fraction of these complaints.

Every good, hard-working police officer I have ever met has had allegations made against him or her. That is the life of a cop.

As president of the Chicago Police Lieutenants Association, it is my responsibility to help provide for the common welfare of Chicago Police lieutenants and the support of all measures for the protection and benefit of the public good. I fail to see any public good as the result of this court's action. In spite of this court's failure to support the guardians of their society, officers of the Chicago Police Department will leave the safety of their homes and show up for work today and tomorrow and as long as needed and step out to provide the service our city needs.

Police officers have long been held to a higher standard as well they should.

However, they should have the rights and protections that anyone else enjoys.

 

 

Judge Kendall Allows A Plaintiff To Proceed On An Equal Protection Class of One Claim Based on the Filling of False Reports

In Ivy v Powers, 2009 WL 230542, January 30, 2009, Judge Kendall rulled that a plaintiff could survive a 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss an Equal Protection Class of One claim, based on his allegations that officers filed false police reports and criminal complaints against him to cover-up for their alleged misconduct.

Judge Kendall explained:

[Defendants, relying on the Supreme Court's recent decision in Engquist v. Oregon Department of Agriculture et al., ---U.S. ----, 128 S.Ct. 2146, 170 L.Ed.2d 975 (2008), argued that plaintiff's Equal Protection “class of one” claim is barred as a matter of law.] In Engquist, the Supreme Court held that the class-of-one theory of equal protection does not apply in the public employment context. 128 S.Ct. at 2151. In reaching its holding the Court reasoned “that there are some forms of state action which by their nature involve discretionary decision making based on a vast array of subjective individualized assessments” and “[i]n such cases the rule that people should be treated alike, under like circumstances and conditions is not violated when one person is treated differently from others, because treating like individuals differently is an accepted consequence of the discretion granted.” Id. at 2154. The Court went on to state that, “[t]his principle applies most clearly in the employment context, for employment decisions are quite often subjective and individualized, resting on a wide array of factors that are difficult to articulate and quantify.”Id. As an example, the Court stated that an equal protection claim on the ground that a traffic officer gave a speeding ticket to one person and not to others, even if for no discernible reason, would be incompatible with the discretion inherent in the challenged action. Id. Defendants' assert that the Engquist Court's analogy to the enforcement of speeding laws shows that Ivy's Equal Protection claim fails because Ivy's equal protection claim is premised on the decision of the Defendant Officers to arrest Ivy and that decision is discretionary like the decision to give someone a speeding ticket.

Here, however, unlike the Court's analogy in Engquist, Ivy does not base his Equal Protection claim on the Defendant Officers' decision to arrest him. Ivy bases his claim on the Defendant Officers' alleged decision to file false police reports and criminal complaints against him to cover-up for their alleged misconduct. This is different from the discretionary decision to arrest one individual among many (due to logistical reasons) as set forth in the Engquist analogy. “The paradigmatic ‘class of one’ case, more sensibly conceived, is one in which a public official, with no conceivable basis for his action other than spite or improper motive ..., comes down hard on a hapless private citizen.” Lauth, 424 F.3d at 633. Here, Ivy alleges that he was a “hapless” private citizen who was the victim of the Defendant Officers misconduct and that this misconduct was spurred by an improper motive, that is, covering up their alleged violations of Ivy's Fourth Amendment rights. Ivy's claim against the Defendant Officers is not based on their discretionary decision-making duties as police officers, and is therefore unlike the plaintiff's class of one claim in Engquist.

Further, Ivy's factual allegations in support of his Equal Protection Class of One claim are sufficiently plead and provide the Defendants with sufficient notice. Ivy alleges that by falsifying police reports and charging documents against him, the Defendant Officers treated Ivy differently than other persons subject to arrest by the Defendant Officers, that there is no rational basis for the different treatment and that the Defendant Officers acted with discriminatory intent by treating Ivy differently. These facts, if taken as true, at least plausibly suggest that Ivy is entitled to relief. Therefore, Ivy's assertions against the Defendant Officers are sufficient to state a claim for an equal protection class of one violation. See Craft v. Flagg, 2008 WL 1883337 at *3 (N.D.Ill.2008) (Gettleman, J.) (holding plaintiff sufficiently plead equal protection “class of one” claim where he alleged that officers treated him differently then other individuals by planting evidence on him).

 

Federal Jury Finds In Favor Of Chicago Police In 100 Pound Marijuana Arrest Case

 After a week-long trial, a federal court jury found in favor of Chicago police officers Sean Whelan and Elise Padilla, who had been sued for false arrest and unlawful entry by plaintiffs Maria Leyva and Laura Leyva. The case stemmed from a 2005 drug bust. On May 24, 2005, Officer Whelan received information from a confidential informant that the informant had purchased marijuana from Rapheal Leyva and Humberto Leyva (sons of Maria and brothers of Laura)  at 312 East 117th Street. Officers Whelan and Padilla went to the 117th Street address and spoke to Maria Leyva and advised her that they were informed that drugs were being sold from the house. Maria Leyva gave them consent to search the house and that search revealed the presence of 100 pounds of marijuana in an upstairs bedroom belonging to Laura Leyva, who had just returned home when the marijuana was found. Maria Leyva told the Officers that  she was aware there was marijuana in the house but not that much and that the bedroom where the marijuana was found belonged to Humberto, not Laura. Maria, Laura and Humberto Leyva were all arrested and charged with felony possession of narcotics with intent to sell. Maria and Laura spent two months in jail before charges against them were dropped. Humberto plead guilty to possession of marijuana with intent to sell. In the civil suit, Maria Leyva claimed that she never consented to a search of her home and that she never told the Officers she was aware of marijuana in the house. Laura Leyva claimed she had no knowledge of marijuana in the house and that the closet where the marijuana was found belonged to Humberto. Each plaintiff asked the jury to award them $3.3 million in damages, for a total of $6.6 million. The jury rejected the plaintiff's claims and found in favor of Officers Whelan and Padilla. Officers Whelan and Padilla were represented at trial by attorneys Scott Jebson and Suyon Reed from the City of Chicago Corporation Counsel's Office. Plaintiffs were represented by attorneys Joel Ostrander, Sam Amirante and Pam Curran. Judge Ronald A. Guzman presided over the trial.