Wednesday, July 18, 2007

What are they hiding?
CHICAGO POLICE | List of officers with more than 10 complaints remains a secret

July 17, 2007
Records involving cops with more than 10 complaints against them will remain secret until a federal appeals court decides whether to make them public.

The city is trying to keep the potentially embarrassing documents under wraps. They include a list of 662 Chicago Police officers -- one of every 20 cops on the 13,200-member force -- with more than 10 civilian complaints lodged against them between 2001 and 2006.

A week ago, U.S. District Judge Joan Lefkow ordered the city to release the list, but the city appealed. On Monday, just before the 5 p.m. deadline that Lefkow imposed for the documents to be released, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted the city a stay that keeps them secret until the court can decide if they are public. "The city of Chicago spends unprecedented resources fighting to keep from the public the data about how the Police Department polices itself -- while at the same time, they publicly profess the virtues of openness and transparency," said Jon Loevy, an attorney seeking to bring the documents to light.

Some have more than 30 complaints
The list will show if a complaint against an officer was "sustained" and if it resulted in discipline -- or if the department deemed it to be "unsustained" or "unfounded" or determined the officer was "exonerated."
The records will identify some officers who have received more than 30 complaints but who did not face any "meaningful" discipline, Loevy said. The documents also will identify the police units with the highest concentrations of cops with 10 or more complaints against them.

"Most police officers do their jobs without attracting any complaints," Loevy said. "It's this tiny portion that cause most of the problems." Critics of the department hoped the documents would surface before Thursday, when the City Council is scheduled to consider a proposed ordinance that would change the office that investigates complaints against cops. Under the measure, the head of the Office of Professional Standards would report to the mayor and not to the police superintendent; summaries of the investigations would become public, and OPS investigators would receive subpoena power. Loevy called those changes "window dressing" and a "P.R. stunt."

The information on complaints against cops was gathered by attorneys for Diane Bond, who sued the city claiming she was abused by officers working in a Chicago Public Housing building on the South Side in 2003. She received a $150,000 settlement from the city, records show. Loevy represents Jamie Kalven, a writer who entered the case as a third party to make the documents public. "We're at a kind of historic moment in the city in terms of real and meaningful police reforms, and the information in the disputed documents is directly relevant to the public debate that's going on right now," Kalven said. A spokeswoman for the city's Law Department did not return a call, but in court papers the city argues that the documents should not be released because they did not become part of the court proceedings in Bond's lawsuit and would invade the officers' privacy. On July 9, Lefkow ruled that the documents were still presumed to be public, writing "the public has a significant interest in monitoring the conduct of its police officers and a right to know how allegations of misconduct are being investigated and handled."
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.
Daley pal implicated in mob bombing
July 18, 2007
BY STEVE WARMBIR Staff Reporter/
Outfit hit man Nicholas Calabrese on Tuesday implicated a close friend of Mayor Daley's, Fred Barbara, as taking part in the bombing of a suburban restaurant in the early 1980s. Calabrese is the star witness in the Family Secrets mob case and testified that Barbara, now a multimillionaire businessman, was one of six men who split up into teams to throw bombs on the roofs of two restaurants. Barbara has never been charged in the case but allegedly teamed up with Chicago mob captain Angelo "The Hook" LaPietra and reputed mob killer James DiForti to bomb Horwath's Restaurant in Elmwood Park, which was a well-known hangout for mobsters.

On Tuesday: Star witness Nicholas Calabrese described a series of mob bombings and murders he took part in and implicates a close mayoral friend in the bombing of a suburban restaurant from the early 1980s.

Expected today: Nicholas Calabrese will detail even more Outfit murders.
On the same night, Calabrese allegedly joined up with his brother, Frank Calabrese Sr., and reputed Outfit killer John Fecarotta to throw a bomb on the roof of Tom's Steak House in Melrose Park. Nicholas Calabrese testified he didn't know why mob higher-ups targeted the restaurants. They shared a common owner.

It's not the first time Barbara has been accused of having ties to the Chicago mob.
Barbara was arrested in 1982 with three reputed mobsters, including his cousin, Frank "Tootsie Babe" Caruso, in an extortion sting set up by the FBI. A federal jury acquitted Barbara and the others. In a court filing in that case, prosecutors said Barbara was "believed to be a major participant" in the illegal gambling operation run by LaPietra. Barbara is a nephew of the late Ald. Fred Roti, who has been identified as a made member of the Chicago mob. Barbara has made millions of dollars through the years in trucking and real-estate deals with the city of Chicago. Nicholas Calabrese's testimony made clear he did not see Barbara and other mobsters bomb Horwath's. Calabrese was busy bombing the restaurant he was responsible for. But when all the men met back after their work was done, the Horwath's group made clear their bomb went off, Calabrese said. Barbara could not be reached for comment but has disavowed any connection to organized crime.

"Show me my connection to organized crime," Barbara said in an interview three years ago with the Sun-Times. "Did I turn the corner? You show me anything in the last 24 years that reflects to that nature." A spokeswoman for the mayor could not be reached for comment. In a full day of testimony, the mention of Barbara was a small part of Nicholas Calabrese's testimony.

Nicholas Calabrese described a series of arsons he did for the mob. He also detailed how he killed people for the Outfit, allegedly with his brother, Frank Calabrese Sr., who sat just yards away from him in court and appeared to suppress a smirk throughout the testimony. Nicholas Calabrese has pleaded guilty and admitted to killing at least 14 people for the mob. As part of his plea deal, he is testifying against his brother and other reputed mob leaders.

Nicholas Calabrese testified that when Frank Calabrese Sr. told him in 1970 they were going to have to find a place to dig a hole for a body, he figured his brother was kidding. It was to be his first mob murder. The brothers found a spot, inside a factory that was being built a few blocks away from White Sox park. They lured a man, Michael "Hambone" Albergo, who Frank Calabrese Sr. feared would testify against him in a juice loan investigation, Nick Calabrese testified. Inside a car, Nicholas Calabrese held one of Albergo's arms while another henchman held the other, and Frank Calabrese strangled the man with a rope, Nicholas Calabrese testified. Frank Calabrese Sr. slit the throat of Albergo even though he was already dead, just to make sure, Nicholas Calabrese testified.

They dumped him in a hole they had dug, threw lime in and filled the hole with dirt. "At this point, I wet my pants I was so scared," Nicholas Calabrese said.
In another murder in Cicero in 1978, Nicholas Calabrese and Frank Calabrese Sr. teamed up with other mob killers to rub out two men in a closed restaurant -- one had run crossways with the Outfit, the other was an innocent bystander, Calabrese testified. The brothers referred to the killings by code, calling the Cicero one "Strangers in the Night." It was the song playing on the restaurant jukebox as the Calabrese brothers allegedly killed the men, Nicholas Calabrese said.
In another murder in 1978 of burglar John Mendell, Calabrese Sr. strangled him, while Nicholas Calabrese helped hold the man down, Nicholas Calabrese testified.
This time, Calabrese Sr. allegedly gave his brother the knife to make sure the burglar was dead.

Contributing: Shamus Toomey and Carol Marin