COVID-19 Update: We Are Open 24/7 to Service Current and New Clients.

Articles Tagged with chicago police

A white Chicago officer has been officially charged after an altercation with a Black woman who was walking her dog. The defendant has since resigned from the police force and has been charged with aggravated battery and official misconduct. The 52-year-old officer resigned prior to an official disciplinary hearing. 

The altercation ensued when the officer found a woman walking her dog along the beach. The officer detained the woman and told her the beach was closed. The woman said she felt threatened and asked the officer to step back. At that point, the officer grabbed the woman. The incident was not only caught on bodycam but a bystander recorded much of the altercation. 

The victim told the press that she believed the incident was racially motivated. She also said that she did not believe that all cops were bad people, but this particular cop was a bad apple. As a criminal defense attorney, you wish that people remembered the entirety of the cliche. A few bad apples can spoil the bunch. 

Pursuit issues have long been a public safety problem, but the majority of these issues are related to vehicles. Police are afraid that pursuing vehicles can result in pedestrian deaths, personal injury lawsuits, auto injuries, and property damage. They are likewise afraid of making a bad situation worse. It is more complicated by the fact that fleeing a police officer is itself a criminal act and in some states, the stakes are very high. While you will not see prosecutions like this in Illinois, certain Southern states can charge you with murder if a police officer murders your friend who is also fleeing police. In other words, there is a lot of controversy over pursuit of suspects, how to do it safely, and how to avoid lawsuits.

What we have not seen is a foot pursuit policy. This is largely because if a police officer accidentally steamrolls a bystander, they are not critically injured in the process. Nonetheless, foot pursuits do result in avoidable shootings and one of the most recent examples of this involved a 13-year-old boy. 

It is believed that the new foot pursuit policy will help prevent shootings related to minor offenses. Police will now have an identifiable policy on when they are allowed to place themselves, bystanders, or the suspect in danger. This should help reduce the overall number of police interactions.

In a final push to revisit cases in which former Chicago police officer Ronald Watts was involved, the State Attorney’s office reversed course and agreed to vacate 44 convictions. Almost every case that was tied to the former officer has been reviewed. Many convictions have been vacated on appeal after allegations that torture and coercion led to convictions. Watts was also implicated in planting evidence.

Initially, prosecutors appeared ready to defend these cases due to the fact that other officers who were not involved with Watts also contributed to the conviction. However, the DA reversed course and decided to vacate the convictions on the basis that even his cursory involvement was enough to taint the case. A total of 100 convictions have been vacated against 88 defendants as part of an exoneration review of Watts’ cases. Three convictions not associated with exoneration efforts have also been vacated. According to the State Attorney’s office, 212 convictions have been vacated due to Watts’ criminal police work. Only a handful of convictions now remain before the court. 

The officers, many of whom remain on the force, were accused of running a protection racket from a South Side public housing complex. They forced drug dealers to pay a “tax” and pinned bogus charges on anyone who did not. 

Last year, the attorney general of the Joliet Police Department launched an investigation to determine whether or not there was an ongoing pattern of abuses within the department. The investigation is set to determine whether or not there has been a pattern of unconstitutional policing in Joliet. 

The investigation came after a man died while in police custody. Video footage, which surfaced five months after the initial incident, shows police attempting to communicate with a handcuffed suspect. At one point, they can be seen pinching his nose and striking him while his hands were cuffed behind his back. The suspect appears unresponsive. He died at the hospital later that evening. The official cause of death was ruled a fentanyl overdose. 

The investigation is civil in nature, not criminal. It could result in the reorganization of the department. None of the officers connected to the death were criminally charged. The investigation is focused on systemic problems and not individuals, according to the attorney general. The investigation was part of a joint effort by the city council and the mayor to open up an investigation into the department.

Two Chicago police officers are under investigation after allegedly beating a teenaged boy whom they had arrested in the past. Two others face allegations that they failed to intervene or stop the unjustified use of force. The incident is being investigated by the Civilian Office of Police Accountability. Police say that they only went after the boy after he had struck their vehicle with a stolen vehicle in his possession and pointed a gun at the officers. 

One of the officers is alleged to have struck the teenager in the face and head, while another is alleged to have pressed his face into the ground and into a wire fence. The other officer is accused of punching the teenager without justification. A third officer is accused of failing to intervene and a fourth is accused of turning off his body camera. The police are also accused of conducting an improper vehicle pursuit, among other procedural issues. None of the officers have been charged with disciplinary violations.

Analyzing the Situation

In Georgia, if you and your friends are committing some crime, get spotted, and run, you can be charged with murder if a police officer pulls the trigger and kills one of your friends. In fact, all of your friends who were there at the scene can be charged with your friend’s murder even though they never pulled the trigger.

In Illinois, we do things a little differently. Firing wantonly at fleeing suspects is not considered a laudable act. In Chicago, we have a civilian oversight agency that investigates police shootings and when and if appropriate, files recommendations with the department for disciplinary action. This is where we are with the fatal shooting of Maurice Granton, Jr. who was killed by police in 2018 while attempting to flee. While the task force would not disclose the contents of their investigation and simply handed their recommendation over to the department, this is generally an indication that they found cause for disciplinary action and perhaps even criminal charges.

Meanwhile, Granton’s family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Chicago P.D. claiming that he was shot in the back while unarmed and posed no threat to police officers. His attorney claims that his hands were visible when the shot was fired. The family is seeking an undisclosed amount of money to settle the claim.

After nearly a decade of insisting that Michael LaPorta shot himself with a police officer’s service revolver, they are now asking for the man’s help bringing the police officer to justice. LaPorta, who can no longer walk, read, or care for himself, is cared for by his mother. Nonetheless, the city is hoping to subpoena his testimony for the upcoming disciplinary hearing that may allow them to remove the officer from the force. 

LaPorta’s mother reported being “floored” by the request. After decades of insisting LaPorta had fired the shot that changed his life into his own head, they are seeking to compel LaPorta to provide testimony. The quality of that testimony and its necessity for this disciplinary hearing is unclear. 

The History

A woman who was dragged by the hair out of her car during an arrest will not face misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct. The woman Mia Wright claims that officers dragged her out of her car by her hair near the Brickyard Mall and then knelt on her neck for a period of time. City officials refused to explain why they dropped the charges against the woman. 

An attorney for Mia Wright said that anyone who looked at the video would see that the police officers’ reaction was baseless and unnecessary. 

The Video

The Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) has filed a complaint with the Illinois Labor Relations Board after several officers were allegedly unfairly suspended during investigations. Across the U.S., police departments have been taking complaints about officers more seriously since the death of George Floyd and the ensuing protests that gripped the nation.

Sidelined officers include notable ones such as the officer who punched activist Miracle Boyd in the face after a confrontation in front of the Christopher Columbus statue in Grant Park. Others include police officers accused of dragging a woman out of her car by her hair and then kneeling on her neck, and another officer caught on film giving someone the finger. 

The FOP insists that none of those officers should have either been fired or suspended until the investigations were complete. They have filed an unfair labor practices complaint over the handling of police misconduct investigations. 

david-von-diemar-745969-unsplash-copy-200x300Lowell Houser calmly called the police, identified himself as an off-duty Chicago police officer, and told the dispatcher that he had to shoot the man who just came after him. The man was Jose Nieves, a neighbor who was not found with a weapon, and the two were known to have issues with one another in the past. When prosecutors caught wind of that, they charged Houser with first-degree murder.

Now, another disgraced Chicago police officer will stand trial for abusing the public trust and tarnishing the badge. If convicted, Houser could face life in prison without parole. 

Houser will claim that he was acting in self-defense and that the shooting was justified. He claims that Nieves threatened to shoot him and reached for his waistband. 

Contact Information