911 dispatcher accused of pistol-whipping girlfriend will return to work

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City officials wanted to terminate a 911 dispatcher after he was arrested in January on domestic abuse and gun charges-the OEMC employee?s second arrest in four months. (WLS)

An ABC7 I-Team Exclusive
It's been almost three months since Charles Reed was accused of pistol whipping his girlfriend and beating her with his fists. He was reassigned by the City Office of Emergency Management and Communications where he had been working the past five years as a fire department dispatcher, sometimes deploying ambulances to the kind of incident he was charged with.

The city moved to fire him. Tonight the I-Team has learned, that isn't happening.

Instead, here at OEMC headquarters 35-year old Reed will be returning to the dispatch floor to his old job as a fire department communications and, according to city records, Reed will continue collecting his city salary of $79,740.

Some are dissatisfied with this turn of events including some female co-workers who have complained to their superiors.

Among the 911 center backlash, this letter from a 911 worker who says that Reed is a perpetuator of anger and abuse and should not be placed back on the operations floor because she says there is no Guarentee violence won't happen again.

OEMC officials had asked for reed to be terminated from his job here. But tonight the I-Team has been told by city officials that his alleged criminal conduct was committed while he was off duty and they say under the Illinois Human Rights Act, the criminal conduct must have a nexus with his city job and an employer must have evidence of actual criminal conduct.

In Reed's case, the city says it lacks the evidence to proceed with discipline.

Reed was charged with misdemeanor domestic violence and not a felony, authorities say, because the victim didn't want to pursue felony charges. It is also the second time he was arrested in four months. Reed pleaded guilty in a September drunk driving incident but that too occurred off duty and was determined to be outside the scope of his 911 work. Reed's brother also works for the city's OEMC as Deputy Director of 911 Operations.


OEMC requested a review for the termination of Charles Reed from the Department of Law for the alleged criminal conduct committed while he was off duty. However, under the Illinois Human Rights Act, an employer must have evidence of actual criminal conduct and the criminal conduct must have a nexus with the job. The City lacked the evidence to proceed with discipline at this time for the alleged criminal conduct. Therefore, due to the lack of a direct link between the alleged criminal activity and his job duties, it has been determined that OEMC does not have grounds to discharge Reed at this time. Therefore, Reed will return to his regular assignment on April 8.


The Illinois Human Rights Act ("IHRA") cited by city OEMC officials, specifies, "[u[nless otherwise authorized by law, it is a civil rights violation for any employer, employment agency or labor organization to inquire into or to use the fact of an arrest or criminal history record information ordered expunged, sealed or impounded under Section 5.2 of the Criminal Identification Act as a basis to refuse to hire, to segregate, or to act with respect to recruitment, hiring, promotion, renewal of employment, selection for training or apprenticeship, discharge, discipline, tenure or terms, privileges or conditions of employment." 775 ILCS 5/2-103(A). The IHRA goes on to state, "[t]he prohibition against the use of the fact of an arrest contained in this Section shall not be construed to prohibit an employer, employment agency, or labor organization from obtaining or using other information which indicates that a person actually engaged in the conduct for which he or she was arrested." 775 ILCS 5/2-103(B) (emphasis added).

According to sources familiar with the Reed case, under the IHRA, OEMC cannot use the fact that Reed was arrested for domestic battery and possession of a firearm without a valid FOID card as the basis for employment-related action, such as discharge. Although the IHRA indicates that an employer may use other information which indicates that a person actually engaged in the conduct for which he or she was arrested, the Law Department is not currently in a position to obtain independent evidence regarding the facts and circumstances of Reed's arrest. Based on the information the city currently possesses, the sole eyewitness to the domestic battery allegations is Reed's girlfriend, the victim of domestic battery.

Sources with knowledge of the case say Chicago Police Department officers responded to the victim's 911 call for assistance, but CPD did not actually observe the domestic battery incident, and only the victim would be able to describe the domestic battery. The victim's statements are recorded in CPD's arrest reports, but those statements are hearsay. The city law department does not have the ability to subpoena the victim to obtain further information at this point.
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newsI-Teamdomestic violenceChicago - Downtown
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