Former Chicago cops join calls for investigation into CPD, IPRA

Wednesday, December 2, 2015
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Former Chicago police officers are among those calling for an independent investigation into the department and the agency charged with investigating wrongdoing by officers.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Men and women who have been spent much of their lives inside the Chicago Police Department describe how misconduct occurs, and they're joining the growing chorus calling for an independent investigation into the department and the agency charged with investigating wrongdoing by officers.

ABC7 sought out several people to give an insider's view of this scandal as well as the culture that created it. We begin with a man whose job it was to root-out bad cops. He alleges the Independent Police Review Authority is anything but independent.

"There were other supervisors and teams that has sustained findings or felt shootings were not justified. When they were told to change their findings, they changed their findings. I was the only who steadfastly would not change my findings," said Lorenzo Davis, former IPRA supervisor.

And Davis says he was fired for it. He spent seven years investigating misconduct allegations against police officers, including shootings. And he has a unique perspective because before IPRA, he rose through the ranks to become a Chicago police commander.

"When officers didn't want to be involved in a cover-up they would usually say they did not see the incident, they were looking in a different direction," Davis said.

Of the more 400 shootings by police since 2007, IPRA found fewer than 1 percent "unjustified". In the Laquan McDonald shooting, Officer Jason Van Dyke has been charged with murder, but IPRA has yet to rule.

"There's no reason in the world for you to shoot anyone 16 times unless they're coming at you," said Michael Davis, a retired Chicago police sergeant.

Outrage is what inspired this group of retired African-American police officers to speak out.

"The type of misconduct you see has been going on for years in this city. The thing that is different now is cameras," Michael Davis said.

"The police department does a very poor job of supporting and protecting the officers who are willing to tell on the Jason Van Dyke's of the world," said Torri Hamilton, a civil rights attorney.

A spokesperson for the Independent Police Review Authority declined to comment on Lorenzo Davis' allegations that investigators were pressured to side with cops.

Davis is currently suing the agency for wrongful termination.

But as a sign of IPRA's accounting, the agency can't even tell us specifically how many shootings were found "unjustified". Their record keeping doesn't differentiate between when an officer fires his gun at a person or to commit suicide. They're all lumped together, the spokesperson says.