After a nearly seven month investigation, attorney Dan Webb has issued his report reviewing the city’s Law Department. Webb, with the firm Winston & Strawn, “did not find evidence establishing a culture, practice, or approach in the Division of intentionally concealing evidence or engaging in intentional misconduct relating to discovery practices or other obligations,” but did turn up several areas of improvement, and provided more insight on how the city’s Federal Civil Rights Litigation Division (FCRL) operates.
Webb’s report says the division is overburdened, understaffed, and makes discovery errors because of miscommunication “with CPD/OEMC; not having full knowledge of or training in certain CPD systems or documents at issue in the case; apparently not performing sufficiently diligent analysis regarding document production, such as by cross-referencing certain materials; or not following up on outstanding discovery requests completely or timely.”
The FCRL is the division within the City’s Department of Law (DOL) that defends the city and the Chicago Police Department in civil suits brought over allegations of CPD misconduct or civil rights violations. Webb was called in after Mayor Rahm Emanuel declared the Law Department should not be part of the Justice Department’s investigation into the CPD. The Mayor reversed course after a judge accused a city attorney of hiding evidence in a fatal police shooting case, and that attorney resigned.