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Police Superintendent Won't Release List Of Most Reported Cops

MIKE ROBINSON   02/23/09 10:00 PM ET   AP

Cops

CHICAGO — Chicago's top police official is defying orders from two federal judges to turn over lists of officers who have repeated complaints filed against them by the public, saying it would unfairly inflict harm on some members of the force.

Turning over the lists would brand officers as "repeaters," even though complaints against them may not have been resolved, Superintendent Jody Weis told the court in a lawsuit filed by a Chicago woman.

It also "will reduce morale and cause officers to hesitate to act in life and death emergencies, when action is necessary and appropriate to protect the officer, his or her partner and citizens," Weis said.

Weis sent his statement to U.S. District Judge Robert Gettleman and Magistrate Judge Maria Valdez on Friday _ one day after the deadline for producing the lists.

The judges ordered him to produce the names in a lawsuit filed by Donna Moore, a Chicago mother who claims an officer abused her 11-year-old son and 13-year-old daughter when arresting them in a playground incident.

Weis "did not make this decision lightly, but he felt very strongly that providing the plaintiff with the lists she requested would severely harm the Chicago police department," city law department spokeswoman Jennifer Hoyle said in an e-mail.

"In the short term, we expect that the plaintiff will seek relief in court, most likely by seeking a contempt of court finding," she said.

The city offered to produce redacted lists or perform any statistical analysis without disclosing names but those suggestions were rejected, Hoyle said.

The city maintains an open complaint system in which all complaints are registered regardless of their validity and the requested lists would contain the names of officers who had been exonerated, Hoyle said.

Moore attorney G. Flint Taylor said he is preparing to ask the court to take action, possibly a fine or other sanctions, to force Weis to turn over the lists.

"I've seen the city cover up evidence, I've seen the city delay and obstruct but I've never in 40 years seen the city willfully defy a court order," Taylor said.

Valdez ordered the city to produce the lists on Dec. 5. The city objected and took its objection to Gettleman. But he overruled the objection on Jan. 8.

One of the lists would contain the name and star number of each officer with five or more citizen complaints. The other would contain the same information but focus specifically on excessive force complaints. Under the court orders the lists would go back five years.

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Filed by Ben Goldberger  |