Four years after a bizarre incident where two Chicago police officers chased a fellow officer down Roosevelt Road, resulting in a violent crash which killed that officer and another motorist, the Chicago Police Board voted Thursday evening to fire the officer who was behind the wheel in that pursuit.
The decision comes roughly two years after the Civilian Office of Police Accountability first recommended the discharge of that officer, Jamie Jawor.
As they voted to discharge Jawor, the Board offered a blistering assessment of her performance.
“(Jawor) endangered the lives of pedestrians and persons in the vehicles she passed,” the Police Board decision stated. “Her decisionmaking that night and her failure to follow her training, traffic laws, and CPD rules indicate a gross disregard for the safety of members of the public and a lack of judgment so serious as to warrant her discharge from the Chicago Police Department.
"The Board finds that returning Respondent to duty as a police officer poses an unacceptable risk to the safety of the public," the board concluded.
Previously, COPA investigators said Jawor “failed to drive with due regard for the safety of all persons” in the chase, which reached speeds over 100 miles per hour, and resulted in a violent crash where off-duty officer Taylor Clark and the driver of another car, 27-year-old Chequita Adams were killed.
In 2019, the Chicago City Council approved a $4.9 million payment to settle a lawsuit filed by Adams' family.
Jawor said she did not know Clark, Rather, both she and her partner told investigators they had followed Clark, because his car matched the description of a black Jeep which had been involved in a carjacking several weeks before.
But that car was recovered just two days after it was taken, fully 17 days before the Clark incident took place. The COPA investigators found that Jawor “did not have a sufficiently reasonable basis to believe officer Clark’s Jeep was stolen.”
Video from multiple cameras showed Jawor and her partner racing down Roosevelt behind Clark for blocks before finally activating their emergency lights near Pulaski Road. Jawor is quoted as saying she did not consider the incident a pursuit because she had not activated her lights or siren until that point.
“Officer Mueller attempted to go over the radio,” the COPA report stated, but only managed to say his beat number and ‘black Jeep’ before he saw the Jeep had crashed.”
But investigators faulted Jawor’s decision to run without her lights or siren activated.
“By driving at such a high rate of speed without activating the car’s lights or sirens, officer Jawor failed to exercise due regard for the safety of others,” the report stated. “And drove in excess of the speed limit while endangering life or property.”
In doing so, the COPA investigators suggested a siren and lights would have given proper notice to Clark, and might have provided a warning to Adams that there was police activity in the vicinity.
Then-police Superintendent Eddie Johnson rejected COPA’s recommendation to fire Jawor.
“The Department is mindful that two people lost their lives on the date of the incident,” Johnson wrote in a 2019 letter to COPA administrator Sydney Roberts. “However, based on all of the evidence presented in this investigation, it is clear that Officer Jawor’s actions were justified and within Departmental policy.”
The Police Board did not agree, and Jawor was fired Thursday night by a unanimous 7-0 vote.