Daley Backs Georges, Secrecy
By Margaret Lyons in News on Oct 4, 2007 10:25PM
Police brutality and a lack of transparency go together like...well, not PB&J (a happy combo). Let's say hangovers and dry heaves. The abjuration of responsibility and accountability goes like this: The list of Chicago police officers who have the most excessive-force complaints is secret. The City wants it to stay that way. US District Court Judge Joan Lefkow ordered that the records be unsealed and made available to the public. The City's appealing that order, but Corporation Counsel Mara Georges wrote in a motion to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals that the City "agreed to make the confidential documents available to any City Council member who requests them." So Alderman Toni Preckwinkle requested them. Georges denied the request, and now Mayor Daley has Georges's back.
The Office of Professional Standards is in charge of investigating allegations of police brutality, and we're still trying to figure out why all their records are sealed. The list the most complained-about police officers was made public in July--with their names blocked out. But the list included the officers' units, and the "top" four officers were all members of the Special Operations Section. Perhaps you've heard of it? Those four officers all had more than 50 complaints lodged against them in the last 5 years, and of 408 complaints against SOS cops, only three were sustained by OPS (found to be credible), and only one of those led to a suspension. It's almost as if OPS hasn't done too good a job...
Mayor Daley refused to contradict Georges's position on keeping the list secret, saying "She is a lawyer. I'm not the lawyer for the city." Sure sounds like dry heaves to us.