FOP Slams Weis Over Early Exposition of Abuse Investigation

Seven officers have now been stripped of their powers, says Weis.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    WMAQ
    Police Showdown |
    The Chicago police officers' union protested Wednesday outside the Chicago Police Department's South Side headquarters against Police Superintendent Jody Weis.

    Police Superintendent Jody Weis revealed Monday that seven Chicago Police officers have now been stripped of their police powers in a growing investigation of the alleged beating of a suspect in custody.

    The president of the Fraternal Order of Police, which represents six of the officers in question, called Weis "irresponsible" for exposing the investigation in such an early stage, adding that none of his members had been charged with anything.

    Weis refused to reveal details of the alleged incident, which first came to light during a hastily called press conference Friday night.

    "This type of allegation we take very, very seriously," Weis said Monday following a police awards ceremony. "There's just no room for any type of brutality, and while I must emphasize that these are just allegations, the case has not been completed, and we take these serious."

    Previously, Weis had indicated that the investigation focused on a sergeant, but on Monday indicated that more than half a dozen officers were involved. It wasn't clear if those officers were direct participants in the alleged beating or if they had knowledge that they failed to report.

    FOP President Mark Donahue declared that the superintendent was premature in his comments.

    "I'm not happy one bit," said Donahue. "It's out of the ordinary, and that's why I classify it as irresponsible. Because you're impacting these officers in a negative way, even though they haven't been accused of anything.

    Indeed, Donahue said the officers were taken off the street with no formal charges.

    "We don't know what the infractions are because they have not been given their charges and allegations," he said.

    Privately, other officers have complained about the superintendent's rather cryptic comments at such an early phase of the investigation. Some wondered aloud if an Anthony Abbate-style video or audio tape was about to surface which might lend credence to the allegations.

    Abbate was the Chicago police officer, seen beating a female bartender in a sensational videotape which became a national sensation (and a black eye for the department) in February of 2007.

    "Well, the allegations are serious, and that's why we stripped seven people of their police powers," Weis said. I know that would be news, and that's why we're trying to get in front of this story. If there's one thing I've learned, if there's a bad story floating out there, get ahead of it."

    Until further notice, the officers have been pulled from the street and stripped of their police powers.

    "To keep them on the streets would put them at risk and would put the department at risk," Weis said. "They'll be in administrative functions where they're not going to be exposed to the public or engaged in regular police activity while the independent police review authority does their case."

    Contacted by NBC Chicago on Monday morning, Ilana Rosenzweig, the director of the Independent Police Review Authority, refused to reveal any details.

    "We can't comment on an ongoing investigation," she said, adding that details might be released "when it won't undermine the integrity of our investigations.