The Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA) released video footage and police records of 101 active investigations into police misconduct and highlighted six specific cases believed to be of public interest. But none of those cases include victims whose families have recently received sizable settlements from the city for alleged police misconduct.
The release began with an on-background session for reporters that lasted an hour. No cameras or recording equipment were allowed while officials with the city’s Law Department and IPRA walked reporters through the database. Once complete, there was a 30 minute break for TV crews to set up cameras, followed by a brief, nine minute press conference with IPRA Chief Sharon Fairley, who took only a handful of questions from reporters.
These six cases are considered to be the most graphic of the roughly 300 video clips posted on the website:
David Strong, Leland Dudley, John Givens (Incident #1053667) – This case stems from an April 30, 2012 incident involving a robbery at Mike’s Electronics on 24th and Western. Strong, Dudley and Givens were in the process of robbing the electronic store when police arrived at the scene. One video clip shows a black SUV barreling out of a parking lot in reverse, almost hitting officers on the sidewalk. Police open fire at the car. Strong died from a gunshot wound. Dudley and Givens were both shot but not killed and are currently serving 35-year prison sentences.
Ishmael Jamison (Incident #1058573) – This case stems from a November 22, 2012 incident at 62nd and California. Jameson was on a CTA bus assaulting passengers and the driver. Video footage on the website shows Jamison pacing back and forth at the bus stop without a shirt on before being shot by an officer. He suffered two bullets, one to the stomach, the other to his foot.
Michael J. Cote (Incident #1069721) – This case stems from a June 11, 2014 incident at North and Hoyne. At the time, Cote was driving a black SUV in Bucktown, hitting every parked car on the street, according to the 911 calls posted. This cases includes cell phone video footage obtained from two witnesses who recorded the event from their apartment window. There’s graphic audio with a lot of swearing, and the footage shows several officers approaching the car and opening fire. The witnesses scream that Cote is dead, but he didn’t suffer a fatal wound. He survived a bullet to the abdomen and is no longer serving time.
Zainul Hussein (Incident #1076216) – This case stems from a July 20, 2015 incident at North and Clybourn. Officers arrived at the scene after receiving reports of a man hitting people with a baseball bat. The video footage for this incident came from a dashcam video from a squad car that arrived after Hussein was already shot by police. As the car approaches Hussein, you can see him shirtless and on his knees in the middle of the street with what looks like blood on the ground. He was shot in the leg. There was no footage from the squad car that was already at the scene, nor is there footage from the Bank of America across the street from where Hussein was shot.
Lisa Simmons, Jeremiah Smith (Incident #1071320) – This case stems from a July 12, 2014 incident at a block party at 15th and Christiana. The video footage, which was captured from a cell phone camera after police had already arrived at the scene, shows officers arresting Simmons and Smith. Both were charged with resisting arrest.
Terrence Clarke (Incident #1075692) – This case stems from a June 16th, 2015 incident at a Portillo’s on Clark and Ontario. Clark, a tourist from Canada, was at the restaurant watching the final game of the Stanley Cup. The incident occurred after the game was over, when the restaurant was closing up. Video footage shows an off duty officer who was working as a security guard for the restaurant get into an altercation with Clarke before escorting him out of the restaurant, telling him he will be arrested. It’s hard to tell from the video what sparked the altercation.
Under the new video release policy, first outlined in February, IPRA will regularly update the database, adding new cases that fit the criteria. This includes case materials involving officer-involved shootings, officer-involved Taser use “that results in death or great bodily harm”, and incidents of “death or great bodily harm (other than self-inflicted harm) that occur in police custody.”
IPRA will release all relevant case material within 60 days of the incident, including footage captured on a squad car dashcam, street surveillance cameras or “PODs”, cell phone video, and private security tapes from local businesses. Not all of the videos have audio, but some audio files will be included in the release, such as 911 calls, OEMC dispatch recordings, CPD radio calls and other third-party audio. Police arrest reports, original case incident reports, officer’s batter reports and tactical response ports are included. In some cases IPRA can request an additional 30 day delay before releasing the documents.
But within the portal, there’s little information on victims of police misconduct the City Council approved settlements for within the last year.
No records are provided on the database for Calvin Cross, a 19-year-old who was shot 45 times by police officers in 2010 during a foot chase. The Council approved a $2 million settlement to Cross’ family in June 2015. Nor are there records for Ontario Billups, Emmanuel Lopez or Ryan Rogers. Billups was shot by police in 2010 after police mistook a bag of marijuana he hand in his hands for a gun. The City Council settled that case for $500,000 in November 2015. Last month, aldermen approved a $2.2 million payout to Lopez’s family. The 23-year-old was fatally shot by police officers during a car chase in September 2005. A $1 million settlement for Rogers’ family was also approved last month. He was fatally shot by Chicago police in suburban East Hazel Crest in March 2013 during an undercover operation targeting stolen cell phones.
At that May 16th Finance Committee, Jane Notz of the city’s Law Department told aldermen the IPRA investigation of the Lopez case was still pending.
According to Mia Sissac, the Public Information Officer for IPRA, there are several reasons for cases not being listed on the website. Any IPRA cases completed or closed prior to the creation of the new transparency policy released in February 2016 or cases involving a juvenile are not included on the portal.
IPRA recently announced that it will make investigators available at various community centers and churches on a weekly basis for people to report cases of police misconduct. The announcement was made a couple weeks after the Mayor submitted an op-ed to the Sun-Times announcing he’d dissolve the agency. But Sissac tells Aldertrack it’ll be sometime before IPRA is replaced. Until then, the agency will continue to implement reforms suggested by the task force. Legally, an agency must be in place to investigate police, and a new oversight body would take some time to establish.