The Watch

News and Information for Chicago FOP members.

Time For Investigative Reporters To Look Inward

Better Government Associaton President Andy Shaw Lays an Egg...

As the former research director for his organization faces a massive federal lawsuit alleging false affidavits and bribed witnesses, Andy Shaw has some advice about how to fix the “corrupt” Chicago Police Department.

Shaw is the current President of the Better Government Association (BGA), which bills itself as “a full-service watchdog organization…shining a light on government in Illinois and holding public officials accountable.”

A well-known voice of the anti-police movement, Shaw recently made statements about police accountability in a fawning, obsequious interview on WBBM radio. The interview, which comes right as the FOP and city begin negotiations on a new contract, was stock anti-police rhetoric from Chicago’s progressive media, calling for—drum roll, please—more oversight of Chicago Police Officers.

Here’s what the blog “Second City Cop” had to say about the Shaw interview:

We've heard some political hit jobs before, but Shaw takes the cake with this one. A typical Rahm/Machine move. No one is actually "negotiating in the media" but golly, the City message is certainly getting out there somehow.

Shaw’s watchdogs and shining lights are nowhere to be found in the reporting about the federal lawsuit against David Protess, a former Research Director at the BGA. In fact, one will rarely find any Chicago journalists attending the hearings in which Protess, Private Investigator Paul Ciolino and Northwestern University are accused of framing an innocent man, Alstory Simon, for a 1982 double murder as part of a plot to spring another man, Anthony Porter, from prison.

The aim of that plot was, according to Simon’s attorneys, to end the death penalty in Illinois, which it did. But thanks to the work of exactly no one in the official pool of Chicago journalists, Simon was freed in 2014 by former Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, who assailed the methods Protess used in freeing Porter.

This is what Simon’s attorneys allege in their lawsuit:

 As part of a Northwestern University Investigative Journalism class he taught in 1998, Protess instructed his students to investigate Porter’s case and develop evidence of Porter’s innocence, rather than to search for the truth. During that investigation, Northwestern, through its employees and/or agents, Protess and Ciolino, intentionally manufactured false witness statements against Simon, and then used the fabricated evidence, along with terrifying threats and other illegal and deceitful tactics, to coerce a knowingly false confession from Simon.

Simon’s attorneys are not arguing that the Simon case was an isolated incident. On the contrary, they are claiming it is part of the pattern of misconduct by Protess.

Protess’ tenure at the BGA took place before Shaw joined the organization. But it is Shaw’s failure to cover the bombshell developments in the Simon case, and its connection to other dubious wrongful convictions, that truly cast a dark shadow on BGA’s shining investigative lights and watchdogs.

If only “investigative journalists” were held to the same standards of truthfulness as that of a patrol officer. If only body cameras, in-car microphones and cell phone cameras recorded the daily actions and statements of Chicago media community, then perhaps there might be some answers to the chilling questions about the integrity of the Chicago media in the Simon case. And others. 

Here’s another issue that Shaw and the BGA have not touched:

A former reporter for the BGA, John Conroy, championed the case of a man on death row named Madison Hobley, convicted of setting a fire in 1987 that killed seven people. Conroy relentlessly pushed the narrative that Hobley, who was set free in 2003 through a pardon by former Governor George Ryan in the wake of the hysteria surrounding the Porter exonerations, was innocent. Ryan pardoned Hobley and three other men shortly before he was sent to prison on corruption charges. In his articles, Conroy argued that Hobley was framed by “Burge detectives.”

But now it is Simon’s attorneys, and not Shaw and his watchdogs, who are the ones shining a light on Hobley case. In a letter to Alvarez, Simon’s attorneys pointed out that a witness in the Hobley case stated:

“Ciolino came to his home with Hobley’s lawyer and told him if he recanted, Ciolino would ensure his daughter received a free college education, and that he would never need to work again.”

Conroy’s reporting of the case is deeply troubling. Hobley, for example, made arson threats against his wife and child a few weeks before they were burned to death in their apartment, a fire Hobley somehow miraculously escaped from unharmed. Those arson threats are barely mentioned in Conroy’s articles, though they were, to the investigators in the case, compelling evidence of Hobley’s guilt.

Earlier this week, President Trump talked about the burden of fake news. Recent polls indicate that public trust of the media is at a record low. All of this points to a central theme Shaw and the rest of the Chicago media should face: Time to turn the spotlights and watchdogs on themselves.

 

 

 

 

When In Doubt, Go Garrity...

Garrity Rights protect public employees from being compelled to incriminate themselves during investigatory interviews conducted by their employers. This protection stems from the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which declares that the government cannot compel employees to bear witness against themselves. For a public employee, the employer is the government itself, and therefore the Fifth Amendment applies to that interrogation if it is related to potentially criminal conduct.

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City, Media Ignore Evans Lawsuit...Again

Fairley’s announcement also came shortly after she lashed out at comments from the Chicago FOP claiming that she did not run fair investigations while she was the head of IPRA. When told of these comments, Fairley said the FOP was “squealing,” a description many outraged police officers believed to be a reference to the police as “pigs.”

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New FOP Lawyer Scores Quick Victory

Just a few months after being approved by the Fraternal Order of Police, attorney Jim Thompson scored a big legal victory.

According to the Sun-Times, Superintendent Eddie Johnson dropped a case against a FOP member who is currently on disability and is being represented by attorney Jim Thompson of Gottreich, Grace and Thompson.

From the Sun-Times:

Johnson had filed disciplinary charges with the Chicago Police Board in January, seeking to fire Officer Clay T. Walker. Johnson said then that the officer had tested positive for a narcotic in January 2016 though he didn’t have a prescription for it.

 But lawyers for the city dismissed the case two weeks ago after Walker and his attorney James Thompson produced a prescription for the drug issued in November 2013.

The FOP Legal Defense Team retained Thompson, along with partner Tim Grace, in anticipation of having to handle increased cases against members from COPA, the new agency investigating allegations of police misconduct. They spoke at the FOP Board meeting on October 2, and outlined their extensive experience as defense attorneys and representing police officers. 

FOP President Kevin Graham Statement About Las Vegas Shooting

The Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7 joins with other members of Law Enforcement throughout the country in offering our heartfelt condolences to the officers and civilians killed in the senseless, cruel, and brutal Las Vegas attack. We also offer our prayers to those in Law Enforcement and the many civilians who were wounded, as well.

“This event and the aftermath is a terrible test for any first responder. We admire their courage and their dedication. Naturally, we will provide any assistance we can.” FOP President Kevin Graham said. “It is a particularly difficult and anxious time to be a member of Law Enforcement. Acts like this pose difficult questions about the direction and foundation of our republic. Now, more than ever, we need to come together as a nation, not find ways to divide ourselves.” 

FOP Reps Take Issues With New School Curriculum To CPS...

After not receiving a response from CEO Janice Jackson or anyone else from the Chicago Public Schools about Fraternal Order of Police opposition to the new Jon Burge curriculum in Chicago schools, FOP members brought the issue to the CPS themselves.

Vice presidents Pat Murray and Martin Preib, along with Field Rep Bob Bartlett headed over the CPS headquarters on Thursday morning at the State and Madison and passed out this flier:

FOP To Sun Times: Cease and Desist

The FOP has become aware that reporters from the Sun Times have been approaching department members at their homes. The FOP has sent the following letter to the newspaper demanding that they cease this practice. If any reporters attempt to make contact with a FOP member at their home, please immediately contact us and notify the department. Members are supposed to steer all media inquiries to the department. Tell the Sun Times reporter to leave your property and call 911 if they refuse. 

Report Attacks Commission In The Wake Of Police Killer Case

As trial of notorious police killer Jackie Wilson approaches, report claims state agency that gave him new trial may not be legal.

Chicago (September 5 , 2017)—A controversial state commission that has broad authority to overturn felony convictions on the claims of police misconduct may be unconstitutional, a new legal report declares.

The Illinois Torture Inquiry and Relief Commission (TIRC), which has been under fire by family members of murder victims, a prosecutor, and a former governor, may violate the Illinois constitution in its influence over the judicial system and the arbitrary manner in which it is employed.

The report comes at the request of Martin Preib, Second Vice President of the Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge 7 in Chicago, who hired the Loop law firm Cameli Hoag to render an opinion as to whether the firm believed the Illinois Torture Inquiry and Relief Commission (Act 775 ILCS 40/1) violates the State Constitution.

The report also comes as several key TIRC cases are taking shape in the criminal courts that could lead to the release of more convicted killers, including the notorious Jackie Wilson case. Wilson, along with his now deceased brother Andrew Wilson, was convicted of the 1982 murders of officers William Fahey and Richard O’Brien during a month-long period that saw five officers gunned down, four fatally. TIRC has breathed new life into Jackie Wilson’s hopes of being set free based on the claim that he was abused after being arrested by former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge and his men.

Burge and his men were sued twice civilly in federal court for abusing the Wilson brothers. In both trials, the anti-police law firm People’s Law Office failed to garner a verdict against Burge or his men.

Now, through TIRC, the release of Wilson would be the crowning achievement of the wrongful conviction movement.

In a scholarly, well-researched ten-page opinion dated Sept. 1, 2017, Cameli Hoag concluded in part that “We believe a reasonable argument can be made that the TIRC violates the Illinois Constitution…We fundamentally disagree” with opposing counsels who, taking an entirely opposite view on this question, contended the Act is not unconstitutional. 

The Illinois Torture Inquiry and Relief Commission, or TIRC, was formed by the Illinois General Assembly in 2009 initially to investigate claims of torture by Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge or officers under his command. Under the law, TIRC was mandated to examine claims of tortured confessions and determine whether sufficient evidence of torture existed to merit judicial review.

The Cameli Hoag opinion, authored by attorney Thomas N. Osran, raises the question of whether the constitutionality of the TIRC Act should be challenged because it allows an unelected, executive-branch agency to effectively order a new round of evidentiary hearings for convicted criminals whose remedies have been exhausted in the courts.  

“We are heartened by Mr. Osran’s analysis,” said Mr. Preib who is the FOP’s Second Vice President during the organization’s recent elections. “We believe this legal opinion is a first step in a journey to demonstrate that TIRC is not only unconstitutional, it is part of an anti-Chicago police crusade.”

Attorney Osran cites a number of reasons why in his opinion the Torture Relief Commission is out of the bounds of the Illinois State Constitution. Among them:

  • ·The TIRC Commission is mandated to “make recommendations” to the courts, yet to date, those courts have held hearings based on every single case that has been recommended to them by TIRC;
  • A reasonable argument can be made that TIRC is unconstitutional under two separate areas of the Illinois Constitution. Namely, TIRC could be in violation of the separation of powers doctrine and victims’ provisions rights;
  • TIRC may violate the State Constitution’s prohibition on “special legislation” because the Commission singles out Cook County convicted defendants alone.

“The most troubling aspect of this statute,” notes Mr. Osran, “is the way it mistreats victims. TIRC could be found to violate the State Constitution’s ‘Crime Victim Rights’ provisions because it allows for closed hearings of the TIRC, where the victim is required to request 10 days in advance for the right to attend its hearing, in contrast to the Illinois Constitution, which gives the right to tall victims to be present at all court proceedings without any kind of preapproval. There have already been complains from victims about a failure to notify them of TIRC proceedings.”

 

FOP President Graham Response To Consent Decree

Chicago, IL, August 29, 2017“The decision to put the Chicago Police Department in a consent decree is a potential catastrophe for Chicago.

Already facing an explosion of crime because the police have been so handcuffed from doing their job by the intense anti-police movement in the city, this consent decree will only handcuff the police even further.

Despite the biased media in Chicago, which refuses to address the corruption in the anti-police movement and the evidence of chronic false allegations against the police--allegations that have created an industry out of suing police officers--the members of the CPD are doing a tremendous job considering the caustic and challenging environment in which they have been placed.

If anyone has any doubt about what could take place in Chicago under this decree, they only need take a look at what happened in Baltimore. According to media reports, the homicide rate in Baltimore has increased 50 percent in the last six years ago.

Just yesterday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions stated at the National FOP Convention that he is opposed to consent decrees.

We have worked hard in the last four months of our administration to work with the city and are extremely disappointed by the decision to pursue this route. We will gather with our legal team to consider our options.”