Review of 2009 IPRA Decision Agrees with CPD Decision to Terminate Cops
In an appeal of an internal police misconduct decision, A state appeals court decided that two Chicago Police Department officers should lose their jobs because they assaulted a citizen while off-duty at a restaurant in 2006, according to The Cook County Record. The case was on appeal before the court after the City challenged a circuit court ruling that ordered the police department to reinstate the two former police officers involved, Jason Orsa and Brian Murphy. The Independent Police Review Authority recommended that the department fire Orsa and Murphy after they threatened and beat Chicago resident Obed DeLeon without following any threat to themselves or others. The police department fired the two after an extensive hearing in 2009.
Orsa and Murphy Beat DeLeon and Violated Procedure
The incident that led to this lengthy legal battle occurred at a Taco and Burrito King restaurant in Chicago. The Chicago Daily Law Bulletin reports that Orsa and Murphy along with another police officer and a non-officer friend sat at a table in front of DeLeon before pointing a service weapon at his head, pushing him against a wall and punching him repeatedly. The two later claimed that DeLeon was shouting gang slogans and threatening to kill police officers, but witnesses on the scene did not recall any such actions by DeLeon. When on-duty officers arrived, Orsa and Murphy did not make any statements that DeLeon threatened them. The officers did not file a tactical response report, which is a step that police procedure requires in police use-of-force situations. After the altercation, DeLeon filed a complaint with the Chicago Police Department’s Office of Professional Standards, which the Independent Police Review Authority replaced in 2007.
IPRA Complaint Investigation Focuses on Community Relations
The Independent Police Review Authority has the task of reviewing virtually all complaints of police misconduct, as well as situations that are likely to lead to such complaints. The IPRA receives complaints from Chicago citizens including excessive use of force, coercion (like when a police officer tries to force a suspect to confess), and verbal abuse of citizens on the basis of racial or other bias, by Chicago Police Department officers. They also receive notice from the department itself whenever an officer fires a service weapon or taser, or whenever there is an incident in one of the jails that the CPD administers. The Bureau of Internal Affairs (BIA) investigates all other allegations of police misconduct (like soliciting bribes or planting evidence). In this way, the IPRA acts as a kind of public relations shield for the CPD: they handle the kinds of complaints that are most likely to create political backlash against the City of Chicago.
Civil Lawsuit vs. IPRA Complaint
Should you take your complaint of police misconduct to the IPRA? It depends on what kind of outcome you hope to achieve. On the one hand, the IPRA can discipline an officer directly, and sometimes cause the officer to lose their job. On the other hand, the IPRA does not offer money damages to individuals who have suffered from police misconduct, such as excessive force. Also, the IPRA has a long history of being soft on police officers. While Orsa and Murphy lost their jobs, many other cops have gone unpunished or received light discipline, even for shooting suspects with little or no justification. If you hope to receive any financial compensation for injuries or distress you have suffered, and you want an unbiased hearing, you are better off suing the CPD and the City of Chicago in a court of law.
Contact a Chicago Police Misconduct Attorney
If you or someone you know has been the victim of police misconduct, you need expert legal help. Get in touch with an experienced civil rights lawyer at Barney & Hourihane in Chicago today to get the justice you deserve.
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