Reinstated Officers Ensnared by Paperwork - NBC Chicago

Reinstated Officers Ensnared by Paperwork

GPS technology shows officers weren't in area of alleged incident, police union says



    The Fraternal Order of Police says Global Positioning System records proved the two officers who'd been stripped of their police powers were not in the area of where an alleged abuse incident took place. (Published Thursday, Oct. 21, 2010)

    The two Chicago police officers who were reinstated Wednesday got caught up in an abuse investigation because their names were included on the case report, sources tell NBC Chicago.

    Five officers, including a police sergeant, remain on administrative duty pending the outcome of an investigation.

    The two officers -- a male and a female from District 6 -- were never actually at the scene of the alleged incident and were unaware of what exactly took place, sources said.  Officers said it's common for teammates to assist with paperwork.

    The officers learned Friday that their police powers were being stripped but didn't exactly know why until Monday, sources said.  It was at that time they contacted their union attorney.

    Global Positioning System records ultimately proved the two officers' claims and their reinstatement was announced Wednesday afternoon by Fraternal Order of Police President Mark Donahue.

    "Had a proper investigation taken place prior to the superintendent's hasty decision to hold a press conference on Friday... these two officers would not have had their reputations tarnished or suffered embarrassment in front of their colleagues and their families," said Donahue.

    The union said that Supt. Jody Weis has not yet apologized to the two officers or acknowledged their reinstatement, despite making himself publicly available earlier in the day to announce the reallocation of police resources throughout the city.

     Two hours after Donahue's comments, the Chicago Police Department confirmed the officers' reinstatement via a written release:

      "... two of the seven officers which [The Independent Police Review Authority ]initially recommended be relieved of police powers in the misconduct investigation have been excluded from the investigation.  Based upon this information, the department took swift action to restore these officers' police powers and return them to field assignment."

    The investigation began after a man, identified by FOX Chicago as 19-year-old Gregory Jeffries, filed a complaint with the department.  Jeffries claimed he was punched and slapped by a police sergeant and another officer while handcuffed near West 79th Street and South Vincennes Avenue on Oct. 11.

    Four days later, Weis hastily called a press conference and announced that the sergeant had been relieved of his police powers four days later.  Information about the other six officers being sidelined wasn't made public until Monday.

    Donahue was immediately critical of the superintendent for going public with the investigation, calling it "irresponsible" and pointing out that none of the officers had been charged with any wrongdoing

    "It appears [Weis] is looking to save face in the eyes of his biggest supporter... in case it becomes something bigger," he said Wednesday, referencing Mayor Richard Daley, who just a day earlier defended Weis for his swift action.

    IPRA continues to investigate the case.  Police sources tell NBC Chicago that the man who was handcuffed and who filed the complaint may have a relative on the IPRA's board and called that relative from jail.

    The union said it's considering legal action against the superintendent.