Capitol Fax.com - Your Illinois News Radar » Better management, please
SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      About     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact Rich Miller
CapitolFax.com
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
Better management, please

Monday, Jul 31, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Heather Cherone at WTTW

Chicago taxpayers spent $280 million to resolve lawsuits alleging Chicago police officers committed a wide range of misconduct — including false arrest and excessive force — from spring 2019 to spring 2023, according to an analysis of city data by WTTW News. […]

Inspector General Deborah Witzburg in September sounded the alarm about the escalating costs of police misconduct, releasing an audit that found the city does not collect enough data to “effectively manage the risk of expense to the city and harm to its residents arising out of CPD’s operations.”

That lack of detail means city officials rarely link settlements or verdicts — which can run into the millions of dollars — to specific complaints of misconduct, and do not analyze what led up to the incident in an effort to prevent similar cases by disciplining officers, retraining them or offering them counseling or other treatment, Witzburg said.

“We are writing enormous checks and leaving a tremendous opportunity for reform on the table,” Witzburg said. “It is a staggering amount of money.”

The ordinance that created the Civilian Office of Police Accountability calls for a representative of the agency, which is charged with investigating police misconduct, to be present while the City Council’s Finance Committee weighs whether to endorse recommendations from the city’s lawyers to settle a case. But they never are, Witzburg said.

That allows those discussions to “devolve into a shadow trial” about whether the officers committed misconduct, without all of the facts available to members of the committee.

       

23 Comments
  1. - Jocko - Monday, Jul 31, 23 @ 10:15 am:

    Remind me again why qualified immunity covers LEOs for unlimited sums of money?


  2. - Larry Bowa Jr. - Monday, Jul 31, 23 @ 10:20 am:

    I see our local journalists are going to carry on pretending that mayors or alderpeople have any control over what the Chicago Police Department does in practice. Not sure who this lie serves but it doesn’t help the public understand what’s happening in the world around it.


  3. - Bruce( no not him) - Monday, Jul 31, 23 @ 10:24 am:

    “… city officials have yet to comply with court-ordered reforms…That consent decree took effect in February 2019, less than three months before Lightfoot took office.”
    Why don’t the courts force this?
    Are they really interested in changing anything?
    Or is this just the cost of doing business?


  4. - Lucky Pierre - Monday, Jul 31, 23 @ 10:24 am:

    “What to make of that trend? Is it a sign that the city’s policing problems have gotten worse? Or evidence that more victims of police violence were moved to come forward? Or that the city has started to compensate people more generously for the harms they experienced? ”

    For the past 10 years, Chicago is ranked #2 at

    New York City $1,704,120,487
    Chicago $467,586,464
    Los Angeles $329,925,620

    https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/police-misconduct-costs-cities-millions-every-year-but-thats-where-the-accountability-ends/

    Milwaukee is #7 at just over $40 million over 10 years


  5. - Amalia - Monday, Jul 31, 23 @ 10:28 am:

    “…wide range of misconduct.” that is vital to understanding just what is happening. both on the policing side and on the lawsuit side. I don’t believe that for every case filed there is an innocent police officer. but I also believe the opposite. way more cases filed now than in the past. why? actual behavior? cell phones? greater awareness? a couple of very high profile lawyers? people who are arrested do not always go willingly, nor do folks told not to do something always do it willingly. I’ve been around cops who are snarky and unhelpful too. but cellphone video goes both ways. that recent City Council vote tells you that settling is not always the way to indicate what is right.


  6. - Amalia - Monday, Jul 31, 23 @ 10:43 am:

    I went looking. easy to divide the cases by type and see what management may consider, improper search and seizure, excessive force (although that one could be in great dispute) 1 page of cases for death or serious bodily injury in custody, 13 pages of cases for verbal abuse (come on….) https://www.chicagocopa.org/data-cases/case-portal/


  7. - vern - Monday, Jul 31, 23 @ 10:47 am:

    === I see our local journalists are going to carry on pretending that mayors or alderpeople have any control over what the Chicago Police Department does in practice. ===

    Call me old-fashioned, but in a democracy elected officials should be held responsible for managing the agencies under their purview. If the police department’s misconduct is costing the city hundreds of millions of dollars, asking the Mayor and City Council about it seems like a reasonable thing to do.


  8. - Larry Bowa Jr. - Monday, Jul 31, 23 @ 11:02 am:

    “If the police department’s misconduct is costing the city hundreds of millions of dollars, asking the Mayor and City Council about it seems like a reasonable thing to do.”

    Sure, ask them about it if you want to, and report their responses. That’s some minimally instructive reporting.

    What I’m asking is for journalists to report on how the Chicago police department actually responds to outside attempts to modify its officers’ behavior on the street. Put another way, stop treating readers like children who can’t handle the truth of where the actual power resides. This is far from the first time everyone involved has performed this theater.


  9. - Suburban Mom - Monday, Jul 31, 23 @ 11:19 am:

    If police officers had to carry their own insurance, bad cops would have to clean up their acts or they’d price themselves out of the market.


  10. - walker - Monday, Jul 31, 23 @ 11:20 am:

    “”That lack of detail means city officials rarely link settlements or verdicts — which can run into the millions of dollars — to specific complaints of misconduct”"

    Key to understanding, given Amalia’s quick and dirty count above


  11. - duck duck goose - Monday, Jul 31, 23 @ 11:33 am:

    ==Remind me again why qualified immunity covers LEOs for unlimited sums of money?==

    Because judges themselves (with the benefit of written briefs, oral argument, and a bevy of law clerks) can’t agree on what the boundaries of the constitution are (the constitution prohibits only the deprivation of life, liberty, or property without the “due process of law”). The rules are constantly changing. It would be unreasonable to expect police officers (operating in high-pressure, split second situations) to be better constitutional scholars than the judges.

    We purposely drop police officers into legally ambiguous situations. In a plaintiffphilic state like Illinois, this is the result that you’d expect to see. There may be management and training opportunities tied in with settlements, but that would depend on the nature of the settlements. If a frivolous claim is settled for nuisance value, then there’s less opportunity.

    It is unclear from the write up whether that $280 million is only verdicts and settlements or whether it includes other defense and litigation costs.


  12. - Amalia - Monday, Jul 31, 23 @ 12:06 pm:

    Not all misconduct is equal. the huge numbers need to be considered by what the allegation is. search down the worst. root out the offenders. figure out better policing tactics and apply new techniques across the board. AND maybe fight against ridiculous claims. it’s rare that someone convicted says they did it. it’s also becoming rare for lawbreakers to comply with police. someday I want to add up how much a couple of attorneys have raked in around these cases.


  13. - duck duck goose - Monday, Jul 31, 23 @ 12:43 pm:

    A lot of police misconduct cases push the envelop. For instance, one case that the US supreme court rejected last year on qualified immunity grounds was where a police officer took a single step in the general direction of a home-invasion suspect (who committed suicide at the scene). They turn on things like whether the high-speed chase should have been called off after 20 seconds instead of 30 seconds or whether a five-second taser burst (as opposed to a three-second burst) violates the constitution.

    This is not to excuse bad behavior, but most of these cases are not the George-Floyd variety.


  14. - Amalia - Monday, Jul 31, 23 @ 1:11 pm:

    duck duck goose…..ding ding ding. yep. not all misconduct is created equal…or awful


  15. - Stephanie Kollmann - Monday, Jul 31, 23 @ 1:33 pm:

    ==
    I went looking. easy to divide the cases by type and see what management may consider, improper search and seizure, excessive force (although that one could be in great dispute) 1 page of cases for death or serious bodily injury in custody, 13 pages of cases for verbal abuse (come on….)==

    I’m sure you know that your link is a list of people who filed a complaint with COPA, not people who filed a case in court, much less settlements vetted by City lawyers.

    Of course verbal abuse is significantly more common than injury/deaths in custody. It would be even more concerning if it weren’t. So I don’t know what you mean by “come on…” but from context it seems as though you’re implying that it’s not a big deal and that someone’s employer should not be told when they are disrespecting and using slurs on people.


  16. - Stephanie Kollmann - Monday, Jul 31, 23 @ 1:38 pm:

    It’s interesting to see, as with the recent City Council meeting, who thinks they are in a better position than the Law Department to judge the merits of settlements.

    Everyone’s circles are different but not one person in mine believes that the lawyers there are at all likely to shove money at plaintiffs (unless it is to prevent something even worse from coming out, e.g. Laquan McDonald).


  17. - Amalia - Monday, Jul 31, 23 @ 1:50 pm:

    @Stephanie Kollmann, we don’t know, do we? misconduct gets lumped into one category. and we know that the cases are not all the same. clarity is needed. and no, I would not think every case of verbal abuse is ok, nor would I think every case is a case. there’s no clarity at all on this issue and the screaming that there is tons of misconduct misses how we need to clarify so management can happen. the system is a mess.


  18. - Stephanie Kollmann - Monday, Jul 31, 23 @ 2:08 pm:

    =misconduct gets lumped into one category=

    What are you talking about?

    You seem very invested in some kind of “we don’t know what’s happening/both sides are to blame” narrative but there is plenty we do know for sure:
    -there is a huge amount of misconduct
    -only a small portion of it is discovered/reported
    -most COPA investigations go nowhere
    -lawsuits (which because of contingency-fee risks tend to be filed in only a small number of the most egregious/documented cases) cost the city a ton of money
    -the city is not meaningfully tracking those settlements in order to try to decrease misconduct
    -CPD is resistant to reform

    This is not plausibly a both sides story.


  19. - Amalia - Monday, Jul 31, 23 @ 2:57 pm:

    yes, it gets lumped into one category. and for management purposes, we need better understanding of what happens.clarity. what happens. how to change things. what is legitimate. and are some things not appropriate as misconduct. for example, in a very random search I found a case of verbal abuse between one officer and another. what is that doing in a misconduct list? it is better served as hr. the city needs to do better. you are saying I am calling it a both sides story. I’m calling it a both/and. I don’t work in this field. I don’t have a vested interest, except that it affects all of the Chicago area. and there has to be better management.


  20. - Dotnonymous x - Monday, Jul 31, 23 @ 3:30 pm:

    - …in a very random search I found a case of verbal abuse between one officer and another. -

    Are you sure you weren’t looking…for exceptions.


  21. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Monday, Jul 31, 23 @ 3:47 pm:

    So much of the money involves reversed convictions from the notorious officers — Burge, Guevara, Watts, ect. No risk manager or data scientist is going to be able to reverse time and change the past.


  22. - Stephanie Kollmann - Monday, Jul 31, 23 @ 6:16 pm:

    == I found a case of verbal abuse between one officer and another. what is that doing in a misconduct list? it is better served as hr.==

    Per COPA:
    ==COPA investigates all allegations of excessive force, domestic violence, verbal abuse including bias, and coercion involving violence, involving members of the Chicago Police Department. COPA documents complaints of other forms of misconduct and refers them to the Chicago Police Department’s Bureau of Internal Affairs.==


  23. - Amalia - Monday, Jul 31, 23 @ 7:10 pm:

    Dotnonymous x no I was not. I picked three cases randomly in 2016…got tired of scrolling to the present. hit one found a racial slur, hit another one content that escapes me now, and then the cop on cop one. that was surprising. so I stopped. because this is not my work. it’s just interesting and everyone should want clarity in how they handle the cases. the multi level system for looking at police misconduct cases is not clear. it is not understandable for the public, it moves slowly. I think the only people it helps are union reps and lawyers.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


* Open thread
* Isabel’s morning briefing
* *** 2024 end of session cheat sheet ***
* *** Live session coverage ***
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* Live coverage
* Harmon: I'm hoping the Senate will be able to wrap up its business tomorrow (Updated)
* Yesterday's stories

Support CapitolFax.com
Visit our advertisers...

...............

...............

...............

...............

...............

...............

...............

...............

...............


Loading


Main Menu
Home
Illinois
YouTube
Pundit rankings
Obama
Subscriber Content
Durbin
Burris
Blagojevich Trial
Advertising
Updated Posts
Polls

Archives
May 2024
April 2024
March 2024
February 2024
January 2024
December 2023
November 2023
October 2023
September 2023
August 2023
July 2023
June 2023
May 2023
April 2023
March 2023
February 2023
January 2023
December 2022
November 2022
October 2022
September 2022
August 2022
July 2022
June 2022
May 2022
April 2022
March 2022
February 2022
January 2022
December 2021
November 2021
October 2021
September 2021
August 2021
July 2021
June 2021
May 2021
April 2021
March 2021
February 2021
January 2021
December 2020
November 2020
October 2020
September 2020
August 2020
July 2020
June 2020
May 2020
April 2020
March 2020
February 2020
January 2020
December 2019
November 2019
October 2019
September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004

Blog*Spot Archives
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005

Syndication

RSS Feed 2.0
Comments RSS 2.0




Hosted by MCS SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax Advertise Here Mobile Version Contact Rich Miller