Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Cop complaint list released -- names hidden
POLICE | Activist calls it a stunt ahead of Council vote

July 18, 2007
Two days before a key City Council vote on the way claims of Chicago Police misconduct are investigated, the Daley administration quietly provided aldermen Tuesday with a controversial list of 662 officers with 10 or more complaints against them over the past five years.
But there was a catch: the names on the list -- which the administration has been fighting in federal court to keep secret -- were blacked out.

An activist trying to force the city to make the list public sees Tuesday's release to aldermen as a way for Mayor Daley to defuse opposition just before a Thursday City Council vote to reform the police department's Office of Professional Standards. The office investigates police misconduct.

"The names are the essence of it -- this feels a little bit like a desperate stunt on the part of the city with the vote of the City Council fast approaching," activist Jamie Kalven said.

Pfleger, Jackson want list
Earlier Tuesday, activist priest Michael Pfleger urged Daley to release the full list. After appearing with Daley to publicize a gun turn-in, Pfleger said the list and other secret documents would help the public understand how the Police Department investigates complaints against cops. "We need to know the officers that there's a lot of complaints against," he said.
The mayor put Pfleger on a panel to recommend changes to OPS. On Thursday, aldermen are expected to vote on some of the panel's suggestions, such as making OPS answer to the mayor and not the police superintendent. Some aldermen don't think the reforms go far enough.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson, who also appeared with Daley Tuesday, echoed Pfleger, saying, "If police dishonor their badge by being brutal, they should be removed and they should be exposed."

Daley said he cannot make the documents public because the city's contract with the Fraternal Order of Police prevents the release of personnel data. The documents were sealed when they were turned over to Diane Bond, who sued the police department claiming she was abused by officers in 2003.

This month, a federal judge ruled the documents were public. The city appealed. Daley said he will wait for an appeals court to decide.

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