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Chicago Cops Sue the Sun-Times

CHICAGO (CN) - Chicago police say the Sun-Times violated the privacy of its officers by publishing their names and photos taken during a police investigation of a fatal fight involving the nephew of then-Mayor Richie Daley.

The Fraternal Order of Police Chicago Lodge No. 7 sued The Chicago Sun-Times and the City of Chicago in Cook County Court.

"On April 25, 2004, David Koschman was punched and mortally injured following a confrontation in Chicago between several men, including R.J. Vanecko, the nephew of then-Mayor Richard M. Daley," according to the complaint.

"The Chicago Police Department investigated the incident and during the course of the investigation they conducted a police lineup which included Vanecko and several Chicago Police Officers."

A Sun-Times reporter requested copies of all the police reports, and "the Police Department agreed to make public a redacted crime-scene report because the criminal investigation was ongoing," the complaint states.

The investigation was closed on March 1, 2011. The police say: "At some point early in the day on Friday November 18, 2011, the City turned over the photographs from the police lineup to the Sun-Times.

"At 4:03 p.m. the Chicago Police Department faxed a letter to the FOP informing it that the City was turning over the photographs to the Sun-Times.

"The FOP asked the Sun-Times not to publish the photographs of the officers.

"The Sun-Times published the lineup photographs, which include multiple photographs of current Chicago Police Officers, names of all the officers, and details about their physical description and date of birth in its print edition and on its website, www.suntimes.com, on November 21, 2011.

"In this article, the Sun-Times acknowledged that the Inspector General's Office was still investigating the matter."

The police seek a writ of mandamus preventing the publication of any more officers' photos. The police say: "The FOP has a clear right to expect that the City would not disseminate the lineup photographs and that the Sun-Times would not publish them. If relief is not granted, the officers will continue to be subject to a threat to their safety and to a continued impediment to effective performance of their job duties."

The police also claim the city breached its collective-bargaining agreement: "The CBA section 6.4 provides that '[n]o photo of an officer under investigation shall be made available to the media prior to a conviction for a criminal offense or prior to a decision being rendered by the Police Board."

The police seek at least $50,000 in damages for each officer whose photo and identification was published, and an injunction preventing further dissemination of the photos.

The police are represented by Sean Carr.

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