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Archive for December, 2015

The Necessity for an Informed Electorate

Posted on: December 23rd, 2015 by Chicago Police Misconduct Attorney

Three recent high-profile court cases superbly illustrate the importance of an informed electorate and the necessity for qualified, non-partisan oversight as two recent verdicts and a pending case have shaken the public trust in the Cook County judicial system:

  • In April, Circuit Judge Dennis J. Porter found Chicago Police Officer Dante Servin not guilty of involuntary manslaughter. While off-duty in 2012 near Douglas Park, Servin killed Rekia Boyd, 22, when he fired five shots over his shoulder while sitting in his car. Boyd and her three friends had their backs turned to Servin. Porter ruled Servin had not acted recklessly and so couldn’t be convicted of involuntary manslaughter.
  • Last week, Circuit Judge Diane Cannon found Chicago Police Cmdr. Glenn Evans not guilty of aggravated battery and official misconduct for shoving his gun down a suspect’s throat. Cannon ruled the suspect’s DNA on the gun — evidence similar in weight to that used to convict many defendants — was “of fleeting relevance or significance.”
  • In a pending matter, Circuit Judge Nicholas Ford is refusing to take himself off the Jackie Wilson case, even though Ford could be called as a witness and has links to several key actors in the police torture scandal involving former Chicago Police Cmdr. Jon Burge. Wilson alleges he is one of the victims in that scandal, an allegation for which the Illinois Torture Inquiry and Relief Commission found credible evidence.

As attorneys for Rickey Williams, the gentlemen on the receiving end of Cmdr. Glenn Evans wrath, we were witness to the significance of the presiding judge and her predisposition that the Chicago Police Department and its officers are above the law.  In the criminal trial, Judge Cannon went out of her way and put the victim, Mr. Williams, on trial in this case and to ignore overwhelming DNA evidence as “touch” evidence.

As we near the end of 2015, the Chicago Police Department is under the watchful eye of the federal government, citizens are protesting on the streets of Chicago and the electorate is calling for the ouster of the City’s mayor.  The above three cases and verdicts, as well as the current unrest in Chicago, underscore the need and importance for citizens to educate themselves on all of the candidates – judges included – running for an elected office.

Antonio M. Romanucci, on Verdict in the Trial of Glenn Evans

Posted on: December 14th, 2015 by Chicago Police Misconduct Attorney

Despite today’s not guilty verdict in the criminal case against former CPD Commander Glenn Evans, we are confident that the civil case filed on behalf of Rickey Williams will meet the burden of proof and detail, in no uncertain terms, that Mr. Williams’ constitutional rights were violated when excessive, unwarranted force was inflicted upon him by Commander Evans.

As testified in court proceedings, on January 30, 2013, Chicago Police Commander Evans forcefully shoved his duty weapon into the mouth of Mr. Williams in an unprovoked act, committed under the guise of effectuating a false arrest.  Mr. Williams was also battered in the incident and a Taser was shoved into his groin in an attempt to extract a confession.

This unprovoked attack was promptly investigated by the Independent Police Review Authority at the request of Mr. Williams and his family.  Indeed, the DNA found on the barrel of Commander Evans’ weapon matched the saliva of Ricky Williams.

Upon conclusion of its investigation, the IPRA promptly issued a memo to then Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy recommending that Commander Evans be relieved of his police powers and to “evaluate” the Commander’s assignment.

Despite IPRA’s findings and recommendations, Mr. Evans remained in his post as a District Commander.  Incredibly, despite a long history of citizen complaints regarding excessive force, numerous investigations by the IPRA and Office of Professional Standards, the aggressiveness of this attack, and the match between weapon and saliva, Supt. McCarthy promoted Evans to a District Commander position in March of 2014 praising him as “probably the most aggressive district commander in the Chicago Police Department” and one of his “best guys.”

It was not until late August 2014, after criminal charges were filed and the case gained widespread media attention, that Commander Glenn Evans was stripped of his police powers.

While we are disappointed with today’s verdict, we look forward to presenting our case.  We are confident that the evidence as outlined, combined with the documented history of malfeasance as perpetuated by Mr. Evans, will satisfactorily meet our burden of proof.

Antonio M. Romanucci on the Firing of Policeman Garry McCarthy

Posted on: December 1st, 2015 by Chicago Police Misconduct Attorney

Today’s move by Mayor Rahm Emanuel to remove Garry McCarthy from his position as Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department (CPD) was long needed.  The ouster of McCarthy is one I initially called for last July at a press conference announcing a civil lawsuit against the City of Chicago and CPD officers whose conduct resulted in the wrongful death of 13-month-old Dillan Harris.  In this case, CPD officers allegedly disregarded the calls by the Office of Emergency Management and Communication to cease a high-speed chase in a residential community, eventually leading to the child being struck and killed.

However, beginning in September of 2014 we first began to question McCarthy’s tactics after we sued his department and his top Commander, Glenn Evans, for the unnecessary use of excessive force on Rickey Williams.  Further, just this past month, a federal judge refused to dismiss him from a lawsuit where we allege his practices led to the violation of the Fourth Amendment rights of hundreds of thousands of people across the City in illegal stop and frisk tactics.

Our repeated calls for McCarthy’s removal has been joined by citizens and elected officials including

15 of the 18 African-American aldermen who loudly expressed their disappointment in Supt. McCarthy citing he had failed to address violence in their wards and to increase diversity in the upper ranks of the department.  In a strong, unified voice, the aldermen called upon Mayor Emanuel to remove Chicago’s top cop.

The fact that the release of the dashcam video chronicling the shooting of Laquan McDonald ultimately led to McCarthy’s demise is tragic.  However, this is not an isolated incident as McCarthy and Mayor Emanuel proclaimed when the video was released where a CPD officer has emptied his revolver into citizens.  In 2007, Latrice Wilson was shot at 24 times and struck 18 times by CPD officers.  Our firm reached a $4.5 million settlement with the City of Chicago last year.  In 2011 we represented the estate of Flint Farmer where Officer Gillardo Sierra continued to shoot at Farmer while he was still on the ground.  I ask you, do three events in a few short years sound like an isolated incident or instead seem like a department that needs to be better trained and change its policies of covering up for its officer’s wrongdoings?

Today’s decision to remove McCarthy is only the first step in restoring the people’s trust in the Chicago Police Department.