After 10 years a new online database has seen the light of day revealing police records over misconduct and policy within the Chicago Police Department. The partnership that has tirelessly striven on the project are The Invisible Institute and the Mandel Legal Aid Clinic at the Chicago Law School. The police records database gives an invaluable insight and report in to complaints made from 2001 through 2008 and from March 2011 to March 2015.
The Invisible Institutes founder (Jamie Kalvern) comments that transparency doesn’t happen on its own. Individuals and citizens can bring about change and redress to make it happen while highlighting abuse. Jamie is also the plaintiff in the case of Kalvern v. City of Chicago. Initially Jamie’s writing career was dedicated to taking on a single project, that being on the American tradition of Free Speech, his father’s (Harry Kalven, Jr) original manuscript. His father was a professor of law at University of Chicago and who passed away in 1974. Over a decade was spent finishing his father’s manuscript and was published in 1988 titled A Worthy Tradition: Freedom of Speech in America.
This legal action prompted the public access in 2014 to police records and statistics over misconduct. While the police records do not clarify issues on abusive behavior it confirms complaints aren’t given the merit they deserve. To date the department has not been forthcoming to the public with evidence.
The list within the database evidences some 56,370 misconduct complaints. A negligible amount of under 3% saw disciplinary action taken. A collective of officers with multiple complaints had an even lower percentage of disciplinary procedure brought against them. Blacks within Chicago submitted over 60% of complaints however less than 25% of the claims saw any support.
Some additional findings uncovered:
1) When misconduct is proven 85% of disciplinary action is zero to 5 days suspended.
2) Punishment is not proportionate such as 6 days for sex or rape offenses and 16.5 days in respect of administrative violations such as secondary employment.
3) Around 80% of the force have zero to 4 complaints, while approximately 90% have zero to 10 complaints.
4) Officers who have over 10 complaints re[present 10% of the force and account for 30% of complaints.
4) Black officers are punished more than their white counterparts and are found guilty disproportionately. Black officers that have sustained findings have been punished more than twice as often as their fellow white officers.
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