Investigator Blows Whistle on Chicago Cops

     CHICAGO (CN) — An investigator for Chicago’s Independent Police Review Authority claims in court that the city fired him for refusing to change his reports to favor officers accused of misconduct.
     Lorenzo Davis, 66, sued Chicago, IPRA Chief Administrator Scott Ando, and First Deputy Chief Administrator Steven Mitchell on May 20 in Cook County Court, alleging whistleblower retaliation.
     A federal judge in February dismissed a similar complaint Davis filed against Chicago and Ando, finding Davis’s First Amendment rights were not violated because he was acting as a government employee within the scope of his duties, not as a private citizen.
     The IPRA was formed in 2007 to investigate accusations of police misconduct stemming from concerns that the Chicago Police Department was biased. It has often been accused of being just another arm of the department.
     Davis, a 23-year veteran of Chicago police, retired in 2004 with the rank of commander. The IPRA hired him in 2008 as an investigator, and promoted him to supervising investigator in July 2010. Ando became first deputy chief administrator in October 2011 and its chief administrator in February 2014.
     As his boss, Davis says, “Ando began ordering plaintiff to change his sustained findings of police misconduct … in favor of the accused officers.”
     He claims that Ando and Mitchell told him “to change the content of his investigative reports to more favorably reflect upon the accused officers’ conduct or to discredit the victim or witnesses.”
     He wasn’t the only one, Davis says: “Ando and Mitchell also ordered other IPRA investigators to change the contents of their investigative reports and change their ultimate findings from sustained to not sustained, unfounded or exonerated.”
     Davis says these orders “directly contradicted IPRA’s stated purpose,” and “amounted to efforts to cover up serious police misconduct, [so] plaintiff refused to change his findings and reports.”
     In doing so, he says, he was “not only protecting the integrity of his investigations, but he was protecting the public interest and the private interests of himself and his family as residents of the city of Chicago.”
     In the 5 years from 2010 to 2014 Chicago police shot 240 people, killing 70 — the most of any city in the nation, according to the Better Government Association. In that time, Chicago paid $26.7 million to the families of victims of police shootings.
     The BGA also found that of the 400 shootings the IPRA had investigated since its inception, it found only one to be unjustified.
     Davis says Ando and Mitchell started changing his reports themselves before firing him in July 2015. Both were asked to resign in December, as Chicago police shootings and questionable investigations made national news, according to reports in the Chicago Tribune and elsewhere.
     Mayor Rahm Emanuel this month announced plans to do away with the IPRA altogether.
     Neither Chicago’s legal department nor the IPRA responded to emailed requests for comment.
     Davis seeks lost wages and punitive damages for whistleblower violations and retaliation. He is represented by Torreya Hamilton and Thomas Needham.

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