Whenever there is a police officer involved in a shooting, the Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA) has to be notified – no questions asked. IPRA recently released a review that states Chicago police routinely delay reporting shootings where an officer is involved.
After looking at 24 shootings related to Chicago police, IPRA found there was an average of 34 minutes between the incident and calling it in. In one suicide incident, the police didn’t notify the agency until six hours later.
So why is this an issue? The minutes right after an incident takes place are most critical to an investigation as that is when critical evidence is gathered and steps are taken to make sure everything goes according to proper procedure. Acting quickly also keeps the scene from being compromised.
Even more concerning from the report was that two incidents were not reported to IPRA at all, as well as having delayed communications with the Cook County medical examiner’s office, firefighters, and paramedics. In some of the incidents, the medical examiner wasn’t able to gather any useful information to help the investigation because too much time had passed.
Mayor Emanuel and other authorities say they are working to correct all the issues with the Chicago Police Department and investigating agencies. IPRA is going to be replaced later this year by the Citizens Office of Police Accountability and will have a larger budget and better-trained investigators. But other than this change, it is unclear what else authorities in Chicago will do to fix these major problems highlighted by both the Department of Justice and IPRA.
What is clear is that the citizens of Chicago are fed up with this type of behavior from the Police Department. Here at Romanucci & Blandin, we’re dedicated to making sure victims receive the justice and transparency they deserve. If you feel like the police haven’t done their part or you’re a victim of police misconduct, please do not hesitate to call us.