7 cops stripped of duties amid brutality probe

October 18, 2010 (CHICAGO)

A sergeant and six officers have been reassigned. The head of the police union calls the move "despicable."

Police Superintendent Jody Weis says the department is taking the allegation very seriously.

The six officers and one sergeant allegedly involved in the incident are all assigned to the Sixth District at 78th and Halsted on the South Side. Police Superintendent Jody Weis says he informed the sergeant last Friday he was being reassigned to administrative duty. The six officers all learned over the weekend they also are being relieved of their police powers.

"We takes these seriously. We want to send a message to the department and to the community that we do take them seriously. There just isn't room for brutality in this department," said Jody Weis, Chicago Police Superintendent.

The superintendent talked to the media after a monthly awards ceremony honoring officers for outstanding police work.

The seven officers he has suspended are being investigated for what the superintendent calls "egregious police behavior" involving alleged assault on a suspect in custody last week. Sources say it happened at 87th and Vincennes late last week.

No one is releasing details of the alleged assault.

Fraternal Order of Police president Mark Donahue says the officers have not even been given an explanation, much less the chance to defend themselves.

"They're painting these officers with a broad brush, that they've inherently done something wrong, not only that, when you paint one in a negative light, the impact is felt by every member of the Chicago Police Department," said Donahue.

Donahue says the FOP stands behind the officers and will defend them when the allegations surface. But he says at this point he also has no details. And as long as the investigation continues the superintendent says he's not giving them out.

"The allegations are serious and that's why we stripped seven people of their police powers...We want to get in front of this story. Because if there's one thing I've learnedm is that if there's a bad story floating out there, get ahead of it," said Weis.

The Independent Police Review Authority has confirmed that they are handling the investigation. They decline to comment on any specifics of the incident before the investigation is complete. The Fraternal Order of Police president says the superintendent should have withheld judgment until then also.

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