Complaint Filed Against Alderman Arena
A Fraternal Order of Police attorney representing a collection of police officers and firemen has filed a complaint with the City's inspector General accusing an alderman of harassing and filing "false complaints" against the city workers.
FOP attorney Tim Grace filed the complaint against John Alderman today (45th Ward) alleging six violations against Arena and his staff, including violation of the open meetings act, cyberstalking, illegally using law enforcement data systems, and violation of the workers First Amendment.
“Unfortunately, instead of making his argument and convincing the opposition in the marketplace of ideas, he has taken a different approach. My clients believe that Alderman Arena has attempted to undermine their First Amendment rights by employing illegal and coercive tactics,” Grace stated in the complaint.
The complaint against Arena stems from opposition by the city employees to a proposed building project at 5150 Northwest Highway in Arena’s 45th Ward. In various social media exchanges and public meetings, the city employees voiced strong arguments against the project, citing concerns about density, school overcrowding, and traffic congestion.
In response, Arena and his staff alleged the opposition by the city workers were racist, in part because the project would include Section 8 housing, and filed complaints with the civilian police oversight agency, COPA, as well as complaints against the fireman. Freedom of Information Requests revealed that Arena and his staff were keeping detailed records of city workers.
In February, Grace sent a letter to Arena demanding that he retract the complaints with the city filed against the police officers.
In today’s complaint to the Inspector General, Grace alleged that in August 2017, “individuals aligned with Arena” may have recorded the license plates of those city employees demonstrating against the proposed building project. Grace stated that Secretary of State records indicate that three plates were in fact run through a Law Enforcement Data Systems.
In another allegation, Grace cited a social media exchange between Arena and one of the officers that became the basis of a cyber stalking complaint against Arena in which Grace stated Arena wrote: "I only want to fire the bigots like you."