* CBS 2…
A Chicago Police lieutenant sued the city Tuesday, alleging he blew the whistle on “illegal policing” and was re-assigned after refusing to comply with arrest and traffic stop quotas forced on the newly created Community Safety Team (CST).
Franklin Paz, Jr., 48, was assigned to supervise dozens of officers and sergeants, referred to in at least one email as a “platoon,” on the special team formed by Supt. David Brown.
Brown created the CST in the summer of 2020 to specifically focus on reducing violent crimes and improving relationships in the community.
But in Paz’s whistleblower lawsuit, he said the team is doing the opposite with a practice of quota-based policing during investigatory stops of civilians.
It might now be easier to understand what former Rep. Art Turner, Sr. had to go through last year when he was busted and hauled in to the station for not having a front license plate.
“[The head of the unit, Deputy CPD Chief Michael Barz] demanded certain numbers relating to police activity, regardless of the criminal or traffic activity justifying police intervention,” the complaint states. “In other words, regardless of the criminal activity occurring that day, his officers were required to make the same number of stops.”
Specifically, Barz wanted to see more “blue cards,” according to the complaint, which are documents created by officers who detain a person but don’t formally arrest them or issue them a traffic citation.
Paz alleged that Barz soon began requiring officers to hit daily quotas, and started criticizing him and his officers over their low number of blue cards. In one conversation detailed in the complaint, Barz allegedly singled out a sergeant who reported to Paz and said that person was going to be removed from their assignment if they didn’t begin “producing” more police activity.
“When Paz tried to defend the sergeant by explaining that in the past, they had focused on community policing efforts and quality of life issues in their areas, which do not result in the data that Barz wanted, Barz’s response was to say ‘f—k community policing, I need activity,’” the complaint states.
In September, Paz allegedly sent an email to Barz explaining that he “can not in good faith and will not mandate Officers to bring in ‘x’ amount of numbers and activity,” stating that these types of actions are “the exact reason” why the CPD remains under a federal consent decree.
This is not the first time Barz has faced accusations in a whistleblower lawsuit by a fellow officer. He was once accused in a deposition by former Chicago police Officer Shannon Spalding of detaining her during his time as a sergeant in the Bureau of Internal Affairs, in exchange for her dropping a lawsuit against police department officials.
In that suit, Spalding — without naming Barz as a defendant — accused her police bosses of retaliating against her for working with the FBI in its investigation into Sgt. Ronald Watts, a former public housing officer who went to prison for shaking down drug dealers for protection money and pinning false cases on those who wouldn’t pay. City officials settled that whistleblower suit for about $2 million in 2016, a settlement that was reached with the city shortly before then-Mayor Rahm Emanuel would have been forced to take the witness stand in the case.
According to Paz’s lawsuit, , the lieutenant said Barz instructed him and other supervisors to generate specific amounts of police activity during their shifts.
“When a unit engaged in a high number of stops, Barz congratulated the supervisors of the unit by telling them that their (teams) were ‘crushing the numbers,’” the lawsuit alleges. “By the ‘numbers,’ Barz meant traffic stops, arrests, citations, and other documented contacts with people on the street.”
* ACLU Illinois legal director Nusrat Choudhury…
Data about traffic stops in other cities that have experienced dramatic increases similar to the one we are witnessing in Chicago suggests that the rise in traffic stops is fueled by stops that are unjustified or, at best, are based only on suspicion of minor violations, like vehicle equipment regulations and low-level traffic violations. But blanketing entire neighborhoods with traffic stops that are entirely unjustified or justified only by minor infractions make people feel harassed for engaging in normal, everyday conduct and alienates the communities that police are supposed to protect and serve. This overpolicing of communities of color for low-level infractions alienates Black and Brown communities and is a serious problem in Chicago.
The criminal justice reform bill, by the way, increases protections for police whistleblowers.
More than 16 years after authorities say a Chicago police officer took part in one of the biggest scandals in department history, city officials have quietly moved to fire him.
Officer Thomas Sherry faces dismissal for alleged misdeeds he carried out as a member of the disgraced Special Operations Section, a specialized unit that was disbanded when some of its officers committed home invasions and robberies in the 2000s.
Sherry was taken off the street and placed on paid desk duty when he was charged criminally in the scandal, only for those charges to be dropped a few years later.
But Chicago police officials kept him in that role for more than a decade anyway, prompting him in 2018 to file a federal lawsuit against the city, alleging that CPD violated his due process rights by refusing to hold a disciplinary hearing in his case before the Chicago Police Board.