Judge alleges misconduct by city attorneys in Pinex case

Monday, January 4, 2016
Judge alleges misconduct by city attorneys
A federal judge ruled Monday afternoon that city lawyers "intentionally withheld" evidence in the 2011 fatal police shooting death of Darius Pinex.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A federal judge ruled Monday afternoon that city lawyers "intentionally withheld" evidence in the 2011 fatal police shooting death of Darius Pinex and granted a new civil trial.

Police had said they shot Pinex after he drove away and endangered their lives. Now, the issue is whether the officers were within their legal rights to pull him over in the first place.

It appears they weren't, and a federal judge says that when city lawyers learned there may be evidence that contradicted the officers' stories, they engaged in misconduct to cover it up.

Last fall, Darius Pinex's mother spoke after a defeat in the courtroom that led to a victory on Monday.

"I always knew they was lying," Gloria Pinex said in September.

In 2011, her son was shot and killed by police. The two officers claimed they curbed his car after hearing radio traffic that the driver of similar vehicle may have been involved in a shooting and may have had a gun.

City lawyers defended the cops in a civil lawsuit in which they failed to turn over police dispatch recordings that contradicted the officers' stories.

"It tells me that they have no interest in the truth. They only have an interest in protecting the officers and winning the case," said Steve Greenberg, Pinex family attorney.

A federal judge blasted the two city attorneys in a ruling late Monday, writing, the "trial was unfair" because the city lawyers "internationally concealed the existence" of evidence and engaged in "intentional wrongdoing."

Greenberg says the judge blew the lid off a cover-up.

"Obviously the judge recognizes this problem the city has with police shootings extends beyond the police department and it extends all over city government," Greenberg said.

In the five years since her son's death, Gloria Pinex has campaigned against police misconduct and a code of silence that she says she now has proof extends all the way to City Hall.

"Me and my family wants to move on. That's all me and my family are asking for. Indict the cops and fire anyone who covered-up my son's murder," Pinex said.

A spokesperson for the city's law department said in a written statement: "The Law Department holds its employees to the absolute highest professional and ethical standards and does not tolerate any action that would call into question the integrity of the lawyers who serve and represent the City of Chicago. The conduct outlined by the court in today's decision is unacceptable. When the Law Department first learned of this conduct several months ago, it immediately began taking steps to make sure it would not be repeated."

The statement went on to say that one of the lawyers involved in the case, Thomas Aumann, resigned from the department in August 2015. The other, Jordan Marsh, submitted his resignation on Monday.

Of the two officers involved in the shooting, one of them is still on the job.

The Independent Police Review Authority said Monday they are still investigating - five years after the shooting took place.