Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » ILGOP says Kilbride “should be ashamed” for siding with Chicago FOP in disciplinary records destruction case
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ILGOP says Kilbride “should be ashamed” for siding with Chicago FOP in disciplinary records destruction case

Monday, Jun 22, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Press release…

Last week, the Illinois Supreme Court handed down their near unanimous decision in favor of the City of Chicago in a case against the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police. The FOP filed suit against the city for failing to destroy police disciplinary records after five years per their collective bargaining agreement. The Illinois Supreme Court ruled that requiring the destruction of police disciplinary records after five years violates public records law.

The decision is being heralded as a positive development in the wake of a growing police reform movement. There was only one member of the Supreme Court who disagreed - Justice Thomas Kilbride of the 5th Judicial Circuit. Both conservative justices from downstate (Garman, Karmeier) and liberal justices from Chicago (Burke, Neville, Theis) came together to recognize the illegality and bad faith nature of the FOP’s effort to protect cops with a history of disciplinary actions, but Kilbride stood alone in dissent (dissent here, starting on page 17).

Even more troubling than Justice Kilbride’s decision is the glaringly obvious motivation for him to be the lone dissenting vote. The Illinois Fraternal Order of Police was his saving grace during his 2010 retention campaign as he came under attack for his record on crime. The FOP and other police groups rushed to his defense and came through for Kilbride with an endorsement and major campaign support. Kilbride ran his retention campaign with a central theme as being a strong ally to law enforcement, even touting an award from the Illinois Crime Commission / Police Athletic League of Illinois and each of his ads painting Kilbride as “tough on crime.”

Kilbride’s decision to allow the destruction of police records after only 5 years is contrary to the police reform movement that Republicans and Democrats are embracing nationally, in which legislation would require law enforcement to retain records for longer periods of time. The just-released “Justice Act” authored by Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) requires 30 year record-keeping.

Illinois Republican Party Chairman Tim Schneider pointed out the obvious, saying, “It’s clear why Justice Kilbride felt he needed to be the lone voice against positive police reform that conservatives, moderates and liberals all agree upon. Kilbride is up for a tough retention campaign and needs the support of the FOP and other law enforcement groups that bailed him out in 2010. Political calculations should have no place in the decision making process of our judiciary. Justice Kilbride should be ashamed.”

Kilbride will need 60 percent of the vote to be retained in November, so this is one way to prevent that from happening. The FOP leans heavily Republican, but you use what you got, in other words. So, the FOP goes under the bus.

* From Kilbride’s dissent

I respectfully dissent from the majority. My disagreement with the majority has nothing to do with the records that are the subject of this appeal. I firmly believe that police misconduct must be rooted out, and I would vehemently oppose the indiscriminate destruction of police misconduct records. That is not what the arbitrator ordered in this case.

Rather, the arbitrator’s award merely directed the parties to meet and negotiate. The arbitrator did not order the destruction of any records. We do not know what agreement, if any, would have resulted from the parties meeting and negotiating. We do not know whether those negotiations would have resulted in an agreement for the future destruction of any records. We also do not know whether they would have resulted in an agreement that fully complied with the Local Records Act (50 ILCS 205/1 et seq. (West 2016)) and all other applicable laws. I believe the parties should be allowed to meet and negotiate in accordance with the arbitrator’s directive. This court could retain jurisdiction and remand for negotiations. After proceeding with negotiations, it would be warranted for this court to review the status of any agreement.

To repeat, the issue of police misconduct is a serious issue that must be confronted by society. This court was asked, however, to consider a fundamental principle of labor law, namely, the validity and enforcement of arbitration awards.


  1. - Candy Dogood - Monday, Jun 22, 20 @ 11:28 am:

    FOP overplayed their hand.

    The FOP created an opportunity for the State Supreme Court to weigh in.

    While the dissent is accurate that it is impossible for the court to know what the two parties might have agreed on if the FOP hadn’t taken this action, it is pretty clear that the majority of the court wanted to weigh in that the two parties could have only reached one position that complied under the law.

    The majority just saved a lot of the public’s time and money by making it clear that there is only one way to comply with the Local Records Act.

    So, maybe if the FOP didn’t want this precedent which will now be applied across every police force in the state, maybe the FOP shouldn’t have sued Chicago instead of privately negotiating compliance?

    The FOP’s public relations and legal strategies aren’t very well thought out. There is a reason why public opinion is against them.

    Kilbride has a point, but obviously not a very convincing one.

  2. - cmon now - Monday, Jun 22, 20 @ 11:39 am:

    GOP could at least get Kilbride’s area right. He’s from the _3rd District_, not the 5th Circuit.

    And, good luck on an anti-retention campaign against him. He faced an organized effort in 2010 and the final numbers, as I recall, were about the same as they were for everyone else.

  3. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jun 22, 20 @ 11:44 am:

    Does this mean the ILGOP will be actively supporting Black Lives Matter as well?

    When I mean actively, I mean more than a parsed press release, and “narrow mined” tweets seeming… but not overtly supportive?


  4. - Annonin' - Monday, Jun 22, 20 @ 11:46 am:

    Does this mean the CarWashKing is turning his back on biz suits and open records? Guessing SpanyBaise and Denzel are w**ting themselves right now.

  5. - Lynn S. - Monday, Jun 22, 20 @ 12:00 pm:

    I’m going to have to come back later and read all of this more thoroughly.

    My first thought–

    uuuuummmmm, I’m confused…

    I thought the ILGOP and the FOP were dancing so closely together that they really should be renting a pay-by-the-hour hotel room?

    Or are there some missing donation checks I don’t know about?

  6. - gfalkes - Monday, Jun 22, 20 @ 12:02 pm:

    If this is the Illinois GOP, then Kilbride has nothing to worry about. As previously stated, Kilbride is from the 3rd District, not the 5th (there are only 7 justices, how hard is it to get their district right?!?) And under any rational view of geography, Kilbride’s district is most assuredly downstate…. Peoria? Rock Island? LaSalle? only Will County might be considered suburban Chicago. If the Illinois GOP can’t even get basic geography right, they are doomed. And thats before you even get into the substance or the politics of the 3rd.

  7. - Telly - Monday, Jun 22, 20 @ 12:06 pm:

    == even touting an award from the Illinois Crime Commission ==

    The horror.

    Ever think that would be a line of attack from anyone or any group, let alone the state GOP? Strange times.

  8. - trollbait - Monday, Jun 22, 20 @ 12:06 pm:

    Kilbride’s dissent is actually legally and politically brilliant. His dissent makes it clear he supports all unions’ right to negotiate through arbitration, which is actually what the current provides. The majority overstepped the current law in a way that could diminish other unions rights. He also makes it clear he doesn’t condone or support destruction of police misconduct files without completely throwing FOP under the bus.

  9. - Rich Miller - Monday, Jun 22, 20 @ 12:30 pm:

    ===Strange times===


  10. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Monday, Jun 22, 20 @ 1:57 pm:

    I don’t see Killbride’s dissent as “brilliant” but I also see no reason for the ILGOP to make assumptions about his motivation either.

  11. - Socially DIstant Watcher - Monday, Jun 22, 20 @ 3:19 pm:

    @cmon now: Having seen how the state GOP runs campaigns lately, would you really be surprised if they ran ads against Kilbride’s retention in the 5th District?

  12. - JT11505 - Monday, Jun 22, 20 @ 3:47 pm:

    When you have one side that wants to rein in the police, and the other who wants to rein in unions, the FOP should just duck and cover. Or maybe try to be relevant and be part of the solution rather than just an obstacle.

  13. - On Point - Monday, Jun 22, 20 @ 4:44 pm:

    Who is Tim Schneider again? The reach for relevance is kind of sad.

  14. - Y'anon - Monday, Jun 22, 20 @ 10:39 pm:

    FOP has become a political liability. I feel bad for the cops. Their leaders putting out one ludicrous statement after another. Pursuing this type of ridiculous lawsuit. I wonder what the FOP gave up to get language in the contract that so obviously violates state law and public policy. It’s sad. I know a few of my local officers. They are good people. I don’t know if they are part of the FOP but I hope not. They deserve better representation.

  15. - JAB - Tuesday, Jun 23, 20 @ 11:44 am:

    Sounds to me like Kilbride got it right. The Supreme Court is not the legislature, trial court or arbitrator. They are a court of review which is only supposed to rule on the narrow questions presented to it. In this case the issue was whether or not the arbitrators ruling was within the law. His decent pointed out that the ruling, which only called for negotiations on a record destruction policy, was within the law and should be affirmed. He also implied, for those making the effort to read the ruling, that an agreement that called for the arbitrary destruction of all records would violate the Illinois Records Act. Kilbride made the correct call

  16. - Lynn S. - Tuesday, Jun 23, 20 @ 11:59 am:


    I’m willing to bet the FOP didn’t give up anything when they started* sticking that records destruction clause in contracts.

    Having been on a school board during contract negotiations with the teacher’s union, I’m willing to bet that what happened was the FOP negotiater said, “give us that records destruction clause, and we (meaning local department) won’t be coming down with a nice case of ‘the blue flu’”.

    I’m also willing to bet that portion of the conversation lasted no more than 5 minutes.

    *I don’t know when the records destruction clause came into being, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was 50 or more years old.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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