Investigator Sues Chicago Over Firing

     CHICAGO (CN) – An investigator for Chicago’s Independent Police Review Authority claims his supervisors repeatedly ordered him to reverse his findings of police misconduct, then fired him when he refused.
     Lorenzo Davis sued the City of Chicago, Independent Police Review Authority Chief Administrator Scott Ando, and First Deputy Chief Administrator Steven Mitchell in Federal Court.
     Davis was an investigator with the Chicago Independent Police Review Authority, an organization created in 2007 to review allegations of police misconduct. It replaced the police-run Office of Professional Standards and is staffed entirely by civilians.
     But since 2007, the authority has found only one of 400 officer-involved shootings unjustified.
     According to Davis, this extremely low rate of police misconduct is partly due to the authority’s hidden agenda to exonerate police of wrongdoing.
     Davis, 66, is a black man and former police commander with a 23-year career at the Chicago Police Department. He was hired by the authority in 2008, and became a supervisor in 2010. He received excellent performance reviews.
     But between 2014 and 2015, Davis’s supervisors Scott Ando and Steven Mitchell began ordering him to change his findings of police misconduct, and to make his reports reflect more favorably on the police, he says.
     “Defendants’ efforts to change the ‘sustained’ findings or disciplinary recommendations directly contravened IPRA’s purpose and policies, violated public policy and also violated other laws and statutes,” Davis says.
     When Davis refused to alter his reports, Ando and Mitchell allegedly asked him to send them the reports so they could make the changes themselves.
     Davis’s attorney Torreya Hamilton told Courthouse News, “What’s key is that the report then has Lorenzo Davis’s name on it even though there are findings he didn’t make. The right way to do something like this if you’re the head of IPRA is to create a different report saying you disagree with the investigator and why, so there’s a paper trail. Then people can understand what happened and why, but that’s not what Ando’s doing. He’s ordering investigators to change both content and findings.”
     In March 2015, the authority implemented a new policy that required Ando to personally approve all sustained findings of misconduct.
     “Ando’s new policy also provided that if an investigator refused to make changes to their findings or disciplinary recommendations as ordered by defendant Ando, the investigator would be subject to discipline for insubordination,” according to the complaint.
     Davis was fired in July 2015, after, he says, he again refused to change his report, for “anti-police bias.”
     At the time of his firing, Davis told CBS News, “To me they have a hidden agenda, one that I don’t know about, to decide that virtually all police shootings are justified. That logically cannot be.”
     Davis also said he felt he had a moral obligation not to alter his reports, which found that three people were wrongfully killed by Chicago police officers.
     In response to these comments, Ando accused Davis of lying, and stated that “no person at IPRA has ever been asked to change their findings,” the complaint states.
     Hamilton told Courthouse News, “I imagine once we get into discovery we’re going to find that Lorenzo Davis isn’t the only investigator being told to change his findings when they’re against the officer. What I think is really telling is it’s never when there’s been a finding in favor of the officer that Mr. Davis is told to change his findings. It uncovers the fallacy of the claim that they’re just supervising people underneath them. They are slanting findings in favor of the officers.”
     Davis seeks damages under the Illinois Whistleblower act and for First Amendment retaliation.
     Hamilton said Davis has not yet decided whether he wants his job back if his case is successful, given that the agency has “called him a liar in public.”

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