The Chicago Police Department has received hundreds of complaints against its officers since late May, when demonstrations broke out in the wake of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, according to police officials.
Eight officers have been stripped of their police powers since that time due to the complaints, according to police officials. Details of the conduct that led to the actions against the officers were not immediately available. However, officials say some officers working the demonstrations were accused of verbally abusing protesters, denying them access to attorneys, and carrying out improper searches among other allegations.
The number of complaints filed against officers was revealed Tuesday by Sydney Roberts, head of Chicago’s Civilian Office of Police Accountability during budget talks before the City Council on Tuesday. Police officials said the protest-related complaints became so voluminous that COPA in June formed a specialized team of investigators to respond to them.
From May 29 through the end of October, there were 520 protest-related complaints, according to COPA.
Most of the protest-related complaints arose during the last weekend of May and early June, according to COPA, when the city also saw widespread looting. Other complaints were tied to a mid-July protest at the site of a Christopher Columbus statue in Grant Park and a mid-August demonstration.
After the July protest, Chicago police Superintendent David Brown said dozens of officers were injured during clashes with demonstrators.
The Chicago Police Department is operating under a federal court order that requires extensive changes to the way officers treat people. In June, Maggie Hickey, the former federal prosecutor tasked with monitoring the department’s progress, said she would investigate complaints police abused protesters. She has yet to deliver her findings.