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.