• BREAKING NEWS WEATHER RADAR: Track the storm with LIVE Doppler 7 MAX

Chicago releases thousands of police complaints from past 25 years

EMBED </>More Videos

Total complaints by the public against police: 134,674

ABC7 I-TEAM INVESTIGATION
Thousands of pages of complaints against Chicago police officers from the past 25 years were made public Wednesday after the police officer's union lost a court fight to have the records destroyed.

The I-Team reviewed the giant document dump, which reveals two things: the enormity of citizen complaints filed against Chicago officers in recent decades and the puny number of accusations that result in any action.

The documents were posted by the city on the internet. It was not light reading, and is heavy in both size and content.

The document release was against the strong wishes and legal complaint of the Fraternal Order of Police.

The city posted an Excel spreadsheet of complaints and ABC7 has examined the numbers from 1990 to 2000.

Total complaints by the public against police: 134,674. The records reveal no action taken in 116,893 of the cases --- that is no action more than 86 percent of the time.

The top three complaints, according to the records during those years:

1. Neglect of duty/conduct unbecoming to officers on duty (More than 10,000 complaints)
2. Improper searches without a warrant (13,400 complaints)
3. Arrestee complaints about how they were treated during arrest (20,000 complaints)

The data show that in 97 percent of the complaints from people being arrested, no action was taken against officers.

The police union tried to prevent release of the records, saying their contract prohibited it.

"I don't understand why a 77-year-old retiree's complaint in 1967 needs to be on a database," said Dean Angelo, president of the police union.

And transparency advocates have always said they were concerned.

"The very records that can show patterns of abuse, records related to torture committed by Jon Burge, all those records can go up in flames," said Craig Futterman, of the University of Chicago Law School.

Angelo told the I-Team that if previous police union leadership had pressed the city to do what was required under the contract, the files wouldn't even exist today -- the records would have been destroyed after five years as required.

Since the city held onto the records, the Freedom of Information Act ensures public release. The Justice Department also has frozen all police records during its investigation.

Thousands of pages of complaints against Chicago police officers from the past 25 years were just made public Wednesday after the police officer's union lost a court fight to have the records destroyed.

The I-Team reviewed the giant document dump, which reveals two things: the enormity of citizen complaints filed against Chicago officers in recent decades and the puny number of accusations that result in any action.



The documents were posted by the city on the internet. It was not light reading, and is heavy in both size and content. CLICK THE GRAPHIC TO EXPLORE THE NUMBERS.

The document release was against the strong wishes and legal complaint of the Fraternal Order of Police.

The city posted an Excel spreadsheet of complaints and ABC7 has examined the numbers from 1990 to 2000.

Total complaints by the public against police: 134,674. The records reveal no action taken in 116,893 of the cases -- that is no action more than 86 percent of the time.

The top three complaints, according to the records during those years:

1. Neglect of duty/conduct unbecoming to officers on duty (More than 10,000 complaints)
2. Improper searches without a warrant (13,400 complaints)
3. Arrestee complaints about how they were treated during arrest (20,000 complaints)

The data show that in 97 percent of the complaints from people being arrested, no action was taken against officers.

The police union tried to prevent release of the records, saying their contract prohibited it.

"I don't understand why a 77-year-old retiree's complaint in 1967 needs to be on a database," said Dean Angelo, president of the police union.

And transparency advocates have always said they were concerned.

"The very records that can show patterns of abuse, records related to torture committed by Jon Burge, all those records can go up in flames," said Craig Futterman, of the University of Chicago Law School.

Angelo told the I-Team that if previous police union leadership had pressed the city to do what was required under the contract, the files wouldn't even exist today -- the records would have been destroyed after five years as required.

Since the city held onto the records, the Freedom of Information Act ensures public release. The Justice Department also has frozen all police records during its investigation.

Angelo said that once the Justice Department investigation is completed, he expects the city to destroy records after five years.

To view the complaints, visit: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/ga9g2ybd16zz55x/AACx3FSpAnalB1pkWrtRUmS4a?dl=0 and use the password CityOct122016

Related Topics:
chicago police department
(Copyright ©2017 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.)

Load Comments