Police misconduct in Chicago is costing the city millions -- and, per a new analysis, a large portion of the city payouts can be traced back to police officers with multiple accusations of misconduct under their belts, most of whom still remain on the force.
The Chicago Reporter's Angela Caputo dug through hundreds of lawsuits filed in recent years to determine that, between 2009 and 2011, the city paid out more than $45 million in settlements and judgements in 441 lawsuits related to police brutality and misconduct.
Almost one-third of the lawsuits involved 145 "repeaters" who account for one percent of the city's police force and more than 25 percent of the payouts. Nearly one-third of the "repeater" officers had been named in at least five misconduct suits dating back to 2000.
Caputo also dug up the names of these "repeaters," names that NBC Chicago previously reported have remained under wraps even amidst court challenges.
In 2009, then-Chicago Police Superintendent Jody Weis resisted a court order that was ultimately dismissed by a federal appeals court to reveal the names of Chicago police officers with 10 or more abuse complaints on their record. Weis initially argued that many of the complaints often turn out to be bogus and that he "was just trying to protect my officers."
Commenting this month on the Chicago Police Department's apparent refusal to thoroughly investigate an incident where a police blue light camera appeared to have been intentionally diverted away from officers making arrests, Weis told WBEZ the incident should be looked into further.
"Clearly there are some questions and somebody needs to ask those and find out how did this happen and then if it was intentionally diverted, okay, now we have to figure ways that that can’t happen," Weis told the station.
A video obtained by WBEZ reportedly shows an officer taking control of a blue-light camera and pointing it toward a sidewalk and away from capturing a rush of some 19 police cars arriving in the area and making arrests. When the camera returned to its initial position, the arrests had already taken place. The station has attempted to gain insight into the video by speaking with CPD, but has not had much luck.
The Chicago Sun-Times reported Wednesday that the number of disciplinary charges sustained against Chicago police officers is on the rise, largely thanks to more cases being resolved via mediation, which offers less severe disciplining of officers who accept responsibility in lower-level incidents of misconduct.
The Independent Police Review Authority has sustained charges against officers in 33 investigations thus far this year. Last year, charges were sustained in 70 investigations, a wide increase over 2009 and 2010, when charge were sustained in 42 and 44 investigations respectively, according to the paper.