Chicago police misconduct complaint files made public

CHICAGO -- The names of Chicago police officers who have had multiple complaints lodged against them were made public Wednesday following a seven-year legal battle.

The hundreds of pages of documents include a list of 662 officers who were the subject of more than 10 citizen complaints between 2001 and 2006. The list of names doesn't just include officers who were found to have committed wrongdoing after those complaints were filed, but also officers who were exonerated.

"This is real change. This is real reform. It was a long time coming, and it's a first step. There are other steps that need to be taken," said Jamie Kalven, The Invisible Institute.

Writer Jamie Kalven filed suit to force Chicago police to release the officers' names, as well as the charges against them, which range from excessive use of force, racism, and false arrest.

Among the worst repeat offenders are Jerome Finnigan and Keith Herrera, who were at the center of a misconduct scandal and went to prison, but not before amassing more than 50 complaints each.

Kalven says the documents show a department that looked away.

"They had multiple occasions to stop these guys," said Kalven.

For seven years, the city fought the release of the records in part because the list of names includes exonerated officers.

"There's a lot of allegations there, but it doesn't prove these individuals did anything improperly," said Dean Angelo, Sr., president, Fraternal Order of Police.

But earlier this month, the city ended its legal challenge. Mayor Emanuel said in a statement: "the new policy of making these files available to the public is a proactive step forward in building the trust and partnership between residents and police."

"It's a step toward accountability, towards professionalism of the police department," said Kalven.

Kalven published the documents online.