Is COPA Conducting Illegal Investigations?
From Chicago Contrarian:
Review of records finds COPA hasn’t notified prosecutors of false allegations in the last three years.
A comprehensive review of the civilian agency charged with investigating alleged police misconduct has drawn the conclusion the Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA) may be operating illegally.
The review, conducted by the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch, found numerous instances of unfounded allegations of misconduct against the police, some of which were bolstered with video footage and in which investigators failed to notify prosecutors of potentially fraudulent allegations so that the complainants could indicted.
Despite the evidence of false allegations and the fact that complainants signed sworn affidavits, Judicial Watch could find no evidence the complainants were referred to prosecutors for an indictment of perjury. Such a failure could be a violation of the law.
The Illinois Uniform and Police Disciplinary Act states that “anyone filing a complaint against a sworn peace officer must have the complaint supported by a sworn affidavit. Any complaint, having been supported by a sworn affidavit, and having been found, in total or in part, to contain knowingly false material information, shall be presented to the appropriate state’s attorney for a determination of prosecution.”
Judicial Watch investigators obtained records of COPA investigations for the period between 2017-2019 through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. During this interval, COPA conducted 662 investigations, of which 270 were ruled unfounded. This amounts to more than one-third of the investigations. Many of these unfounded complaints were rejected out of hand; in other instances, body worn camera completely contradicted the complaint or witnesses recanted testimony. Nevertheless, investigators could not find one instance in which the complaint was referred to the prosecutors, despite the COPA investigators using the following statements in their investigation of an allegation:
“Motivation to lie…Not factually true as allege…Account too implausible to believe…This simply was not true…Denial imparted doubt on the truthfulness…Story changed…This claim is not believable…Allegations of misconduct are wholly fabricated…Bias against the officer…Testimony is not credible…Not credible based on inconsistencies and fabrications…The allegation is not factual…The allegation is false…Her claim was not factual…She falsely claimed…There is sufficient evidence to disprove the allegation…Did not occur X10…”
The investigation sustains complaints from police officers and the police union that represents police, the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7, that COPA is not investigating police misconduct cases fairly and has become a city-funded agency working arm and arm with the anti-police movement. Indeed, Judicial Watch began investigating the refusal of COPA to notify prosecutors of potentially fraudulent complaints after they were contacted by representatives from the FOP’s previous administration.
Read More Here.