The Watch

News and Information for Chicago FOP members.

FOP Wins Key Police Board Case for 2012 Shooting

The Fraternal Order of Police won a key victory for a Chicago Police officer who had been stripped of his powers due to a 2012 fatal shooting of a gang member observed with a pistol in his hand during a foot chase on the South Side. 

Chicago Police Board members ruled 5–3 Thursday night to clear Officer Brandon Ternand of any wrongdoing for the 2012 fatal shooting of Dakota Bright after Ternand and his partner witnessed Bright holding a pistol in an alley. The officers gave chase. Bright tossed the pistol out of sight of the officers, then reached toward his side when Ternand ordered him to surrender. Believing Bright was reaching for a gun, Ternand fired. Bright died of a single gunshot wound to the head. 

Forensic evidence introduced during police board hearings suggested the fatal bullet may have ricocheted off a fence between the two men before it struck Bright. 

FOP attorneys Tim Grace and Jim Thompson aggressively attacked the claims of the city’s oversight agency, IPRA, in ruling the shooting was unjustified, by ripping apart the testimony of their expert witnesses during cross-examination. 

“What kind of world have we placed our policemen and policewomen in when they are given praise and official departmental commendations for their actions and then the City seeks termination of their jobs for the very same action? No supervisor or commander all the way up to Superintendent Johnson has said that Brandon acted improperly but rather said he upheld the highest traditions of the Chicago Police Department,” said Grace in his opening statement.

The ruling by the police board marks yet another rejection of a Chicago Tribunenarrative casting police work in the darkest light. Like so many other police misconduct stories, the paper put great effort in questioning the validity of the shooting and digging deep into Ternand’s disciplinary record in search of alleged previous misconduct. 

Now the Bright shooting joins a host of other bogus media accounts—about the Nicole Harris case, Officer Robert Rialmo, Madison Hobley, Anthony Porter, the Ford Heights Four, Anthony McKinney, and others—that have blown up on the Tribune and hint as much to media bias and hysteria as they do to police misconduct. 

Indeed, the Tribunehas refused to acknowledge or review the growing evidence of fraud in the police misconduct industry, despite the fact that the paper has championed so many of these contrived cases. 

A sign of the antipathy police officers bear toward the Tribunerevealed itself within hours of the police board ruling. Ternand said that he received a phone call from Tribune reporter Jeremy Gorner after the verdict, but Ternand’s wife grabbed the phone and told Gorner not to call back. 

The executive board of the FOP recently voted unanimously not to cooperate with Tribunereporters and editors. 

The Ternand ruling also brings up another question the Tribuneand the Chicago media refuse to address: the emerging pattern of suspicious investigations by the city’s civilian oversight agency. 

Two lawsuits currently claim misconduct against the former head of IPRA and COPA, Sharon Fairley. Moreover, the FOP has filed a complaint against COPA over suspicious media leaks that cast a negative light on officers. The Tribune has been the recipient of many of those leaks. 

FOP Second Vice President Martin Preib confronted the new head of COPA, Sydney Roberts,about the allegations against Fairley and demanded an investigation. Preib also castigated the board for failing to take into account the evidence of fraud in the police misconduct industry, leading to a testy exchange with the board’s new head, Ghian Foreman.

Here is the exchange:

 Sure enough, within the days of the ruling, disturbing social media posts are surfacing attacking Ternand.

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The FOP has attacked Cook County State’s Attorney Foxx for not aggressively prosecuting threats and violence against police officers in other cases. The FOP has even contacted the federal prosecutor asking him to pursue felony charges against a man who made threats in the wake of the Van Dyke trial after Foxx’s administration refused a felony upgrade.

In the meantime, the FOP will follow up the statements to Roberts with a formal request that the Chicago Police Board conduct a review of all COPA/IPRA decisions against police officers under the reign of Fairley.