Chicago Police

Taxpayers Spend Thousands to Contradict Mayor on CPD ‘Code of Silence’

NBC5 Investigates and the Better Government Association have found that the city has paid $325,000 to a police expert witness who often testifies that no “code of silence” exists

It was perhaps Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s most emotional moment to date: A speech he gave before the Chicago City Council in 2015, during the fallout from the city’s handling of the Laquan McDonald shooting, in which the mayor acknowledged that a “code of silence” existed within the Chicago Police Department.

"It is the tendency to deny,” Emanuel said at the time of the CPD. “It is the tendency – in some cases – to cover up the bad actions of a colleague or colleagues."

But NBC5 Investigates, in a joint investigation with the Better Government Association, has discovered that the city has been paying a police expert to testify the precise opposite: That there is no “code of silence” within the CPD.

Former Chicago Police Superintendent Richard Brzeczek said there is no question that the department’s code of silence is real. In an exclusive interview with NBC 5 Chicago, Brzeczek said it’s like a cancer and exists today as well as during his tenure. NBC 5’s Mary Ann Ahern reports.

NBC5 and the BGA found at least 26 civil court cases where Jeffrey Noble, a police expert based in southern California, has been hired by the city’s Law Department to offer testimony in lawsuits filed by people claiming that they were victims of Chicago police misconduct. Noble has billed city taxpayers more than $325,000 for his testimony in those 26 cases.

In many of those cases, NBC5 and the BGA found that Noble specifically offered his expert opinion that there was no “code of silence” within the CPD. That includes five cases where Noble offered his testimony after Emanuel made that 2015 speech. In all five of those cases, Noble directly contradicted the mayor by specifically testifying that there was no such “code of silence.” The cost to taxpayers for those five cases alone: More than $165,000.

For more details about the joint NBC5/BGA investigation click here.

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