Judge Finds Chicago’s Top Cop in Contempt of Court
Posted by tothewire on March 5, 2009
CHICAGO — A federal judge on Wednesday found the city’s top police official in contempt of court for refusing to turn over lists of officers who have repeated complaints filed against them by the public.U.S. District Judge Robert Gettleman ordered Superintendent Jody Weis to produce the lists by Monday. Jennifer Hoyle, spokeswoman for the city’s law department, said if Weis doesn’t hand them over by then, sanctions might be imposed.
Gettleman initially ordered Weis to turn over the information by Feb. 19. Instead, Weis sent a statement one day after the deadline saying the lists would diminish morale and harm some members of the police force by branding them as “repeaters.”
Weis was not at Wednesday’s hearing. Chicago police would not immediately comment on the ruling.
Hoyle said officials were reviewing their options and working with Weis on a response.
Gettleman and Magistrate Judge Maria Valdez ordered Weis to turn over the names in a lawsuit filed by Donna Moore, a Chicago woman who claims an officer abused her 11-year-old son and 13-year-old daughter when arresting them in a playground incident.
Gettleman rejected Weis’ arguments during and said he would sanction the city, said Moore’s attorney, G. Flint Taylor. Those sanctions could include daily fines or even jail time for Weis, though the judge has “wide latitude” in determining a penalty, Hoyle said.
The judge also summoned Weis to Monday’s hearing to answer questions about the city’s decisions in the case.
“We are very heartened by Judge Gettleman’s strong reaction to Weis and the city’s continuing lawless conduct,” Taylor said in a statement. “We trust that the city will rethink its position before Monday and produce the names.”
The lists include officers with as many as 65 total complaints over the last five years, Taylor said. One list has 199 officers with six or more excessive force complaints, while another includes about 2,500 officers with six or more misconduct complaints, he said.
Source the Associated Press.