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In The News

Is COPA Conducting Illegal Investigations?

From Chicago Contrarian:

Review of records finds COPA hasnā€™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 ā€œanyone filing a complaint against a sworn peace officer must have the complaint supported by aĀ sworn affidavit.Ā Any complaint, having been supported by a sworn affidavit, and having been found, in total or in part, to contain knowingly falseĀ material information, shall be presented to the appropriate stateā€™s attorneyĀ for a determination of prosecution.ā€

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:

ā€œMotivation to lieā€¦Not factually true as allegeā€¦Account too implausible to believeā€¦This simply was not trueā€¦Denial imparted doubt on the truthfulnessā€¦Story changedā€¦This claim is not believableā€¦Allegations of misconduct are wholly fabricatedā€¦Bias against the officerā€¦Testimony is not credibleā€¦Not credible based on inconsistencies and fabricationsā€¦The allegation is not factualā€¦The allegation is falseā€¦Her claim was not factualā€¦She falsely claimedā€¦There is sufficient evidence to disprove the allegationā€¦Did not occur X10ā€¦ā€

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 FOPā€™s previous administration.

Read More Here.


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