More Signs of Chaos at Police Oversight Agency…
A lawsuit brought by an employee fired from the city’s civilian oversight agency, IPRA, was dismissed last month, but not before providing a dark glimpse into the inner workings of the agency that determines the fate of many police officers accused of misconduct.
Indeed, the court records of the federal lawsuit brought by former IPRA employee Martrice Campbell—which was dismissed last month—paints a stark inside look into the day-to-day operations of the agency. Campbell, who was fired after being accused of lying during a certain trial testimony, was also accused of framing Chicago Police Commander Glenn Evans in a high-profile 2015 Cook County criminal trial in which Evans was found not guilty on every count.
In her federal lawsuit against her former employer, Campbell claimed her firing was retaliatory for her testimony in a criminal case against a fellow IPRA employee Brian Lockhart. Campbell also claimed in the lawsuit that her employer had violated her First Amendment rights.
According to the court transcripts, Campbell had reported threats made by Lockhart to her bosses. Several threats that were listed in the court documents alleged that Lockhart said he would “kill Ilana Rosenzweig’s ass, then that bitch Katherine Martinez, and I will get Scott Ando’s motherfucking ass when he comes running.”
From the court documents:
When Plaintiff [Campbell] told Lockhart that he could go to jail for making that statement, Lockhart responded: “I won’t go to jail. I’ll kill Ilana, Katherine, then Scott, and then I’ll kill myself before I ever go to jail.”
Plaintiff met with Ando later that day and detailed Lockhart’s specific threats that he would “go postal” and “kill Ilana’s ass,” “kill that fucking bitch Katherine,” and then kill Ando when he “comes running down the hall to play the hero and save their asses.” Plaintiff also told Ando that Lockhart said he had no concerns about going to jail because he would kill himself first.
According to court transcripts, Lockhart was eventually arrested and tried for making the threats. It was at this trial that Campbell’s boss, Scott Ando, said Campbell changed her story, softening the statements by Lockhart.
During this same period, Campbell was accused in another lawsuit of building a false case against Chicago Police Commander Glenn Evans, claiming a host of violations stemming from a 2013 arrest of a gang member by Evans. Evans was eventually acquitted on all charges in a criminal trial.
Campbell’s termination and Evans’s claims against IPRA are not the only scandal brewing in the city’s police oversight agencies.
Just a few weeks ago, another lawsuit emerged against an IPRA official. Former head of IPRA Sharon Fairley was named by a former employee named Kelvin Lett, who claimed that Fairley instructed him to change his findings in a police shooting case to say that officers planted a gun.
Former investigator Kelvin Lett outlines his bombshell allegations in a federal lawsuit against the Independent Police Review Authority and its successor COPA.
Lett alleges that while he was working there, agency head Sharon Fairley suggested he needed to have a more devious mind and ordered him to “lie in his reports that a gun was planted on the victim by the officers involved in the shooting.”
Then there is the case of Officer Robert Rialmo, who shot a bat-wielding assailant while responding to a domestic disturbance in 2015. An innocent bystander was also killed.
COPA ruled the shooting unjustified. In reviewing COPA’s investigation, the FOP discovered that COPA was withholding records and findings of outside investigators to the public, the superintendent, and prosecutors.
In yet another example of misconduct at the oversight agency, former Chicago Police Officer Emily Hock discovered that an investigator at IPRA had released private information about Hock to her estranged ex-boyfriend.
From the Chicago Tribune:
But Hock . . . said she was stunned in October to uncover emails pointing to the alleged source of Weiss’ inside information—an investigator with the civilian agency charged with investigating Chicago police misconduct.
Hock said the emails showed the investigator giving Weiss tips on how to make his complaints to police and the Independent Police Review Authority seem more substantial.
At the last police board hearing, second vice president Martin Preib demanded that the board initiate an investigation of both COPA and IPRA under the leadership of Sharon Fairley.