Police Abuse

You Can Absolutely Guess What Will Get You Fired from a Job Investigating Chicago Police Shootings

Wave goodbye to the man who questioned use of deadly force.

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Doubles as a hearse?
Credit: ADJR Photos (ChicagoFD1996) / photo on flickr

Chicago's Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA) has conducted investigations of close to 400 police shootings of citizens and has found just one to have been unjustified. That little factoid comes from Chicago public radio station WBEZ as some background context for the news that Lorenzo Davis, a supervising investigator for IPRA, had been fired earlier in July.

Davis isn't going out quietly. WBEZ interviewed the man, a former Chicago police officer himself who retired in 2004. Davis is saying that the reason why he was fired is because he insisted that several recent police shootings were unjustified and would not comply with orders to change his findings. Performance evaluations indicated everybody thought Davis' work was just great until recently. From WBEZ:

The performance evaluation covered 19 months and concluded that Davis "displays a complete lack of objectivity combined with a clear bias against the police in spite of his own lengthy police career."

Later on:

"Things began to turn sour, I would say, within the last year," Davis said. "Chief Administrator [Scott] Ando began to say that he wanted me to change my findings."

Davis says he helped investigate more than a dozen shootings by police at the agency. He says his superiors had no objections when his team recommended exonerating officers. The objections came, he says, after each finding that a shooting was unjustified. He says there were six of those cases.

"They have shot people dead when they did not have to shoot," Davis said about those officers. "They were not in reasonable fear for their lives. The evidence shows that the officer knew, or should have known, that the person who they shot was not armed or did not pose a threat to them or could have been apprehended by means short of deadly force."

It's not for nothing that the Chicago Police Department has arguably the most brutal reputation in the country, what with secret sites to detain and interrogate citizens "off the books," and a background of torture so endemic that Guantanamo Bay turned to one of its detectives to devise its abusive questioning methods. Citizen complaints against Chicago police misbehavior often go nowhere, while the city spends $1 million per week settling accusations of police abuse.

Read more from WBEZ here, where there's also an option to listen to the interview with Davis. 

NEXT: Albert Gallatin on government incompetence

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  1. Davis is saying that the reason why he was fired is because he insisted that several recent police shootings were unjustified and would not comply with orders to change his findings.

    The Untouchables ain’t just a movie set in Chicago.

    1. +1 Chicago way

    2. At least the Untouchables were going against armed gangsters. I’m sure most of the unjustified shootings were cops gunning down unarmed people (as Davis confirms) and doing other heinous acts.

  2. I am Jack’s smirking revenge.

    1. Oh, nice.

  3. Having people investigate themselves is just a total farce. It’s too easy to guess the outcome of such a thing.

    1. How can a reviewer be considered “independent” if the city gets to meddle with his findings and terminate him at whim?

      1. That’s what I meant when I said investigating yourself. You wouldn’t have any control over an independent investigator.

        1. *rising intonation* But who knows what his findings might be!!

      2. He has no affiliation to the democrats or republicans?

  4. Oversight! Accountability! Democracy in action!

    1. KKkorporashuns caused this.

  5. “…guess what will get you fired from a job investigating Chicago Police shooting.”

    Investigating Chicago Police shootings?

    Gods, I hope this guy makes a really big stink. Probably won’t be allowed to, though, what with the media being the way they are.

    1. WBEZ is one of the most important media outlets in the city, so this is significant.

      1. Although if the (single) comment is anything to go by, you make be asking for more than Chicago can deliver.

        krabbie ? an hour ago
        psychophants win again, the corporate police state is approved by emanuel and guarantees the ajudication of police violence

        Isn’t it extraordinary that, in a city defined by Democratic corruption and incompetence, someone still manages to blame this on kkkorporatocracy?

        1. I was wondering if the WEBZ faithful would make the exact wrong conclusion, and yes, it’s one comment, but that one comment falls unfortunately right into my stereotype’s lap.

          1. Progs use “corporate” just to designate evil in their minds. The comment at least blames ballet boy and not the Koch’s on this – though I know Daly did things like privatize parking meters or something like that, so maybe he’s butt hurt over that.

            1. “psychophants” may just be a reference to sinister elephant control of the political system a la the lizard people, but more likely it is referring to Republicans.

              1. Seems incredibly unlikely. Blaming Republicans isn’t really a thing that happens here. Even the lowest-info voters know it makes no sense.

                1. That’s interesting. That would give me hope. California, Republicans are universally to blame for everything. Oh yeah, and Proposition 13.

                  1. Also, here in Seattle, Republicans aren’t blamed for much either… directly.

                    What they do is accuse the odd Democrat of acting like a Republican– ie, they paint him or her as a Republican during a campaign.

                    Essentially, you have to work with the tools you’ve got.

                  2. Yeah. Plenty of fighting among Democrats. Republicans aren’t really on the radar. Even now, with Rauner as governor.

        2. Aside: I guess the answer here is that we need to kick the Republicans out of Chicago and increase union protections.

          1. and gun control. And public housing, food assistance, and spend more on public education.

            1. But make sure all the elite can send their kids to the UC Lab school and we’ll be okay.

          2. Those damn Trotskies popping up at utterly opportune moments.

        3. It’s not like they aren’t crony capitalists.

          1. Got any links? I just know about the parking meters I mention up-thread, and I know they probably gave a lot to Boeing to move there. Are all the stadiums publicly funded?

            I read more about the union cronyism that corporate type (unless you consider them 2 sides of the same coin, which is legit).

            1. I do consider them two sides of the same coin. The parking meter thing was an abomination. Red light cameras are another example. Here’s a link from a couple years ago about Boeing and others. Plus they love being in bed with fuckfaces like U of C. #TraumaCenterNow

              1. Thanks. My mom and dad went o UC, and they seem to act the way NYU does in NYC — in bed with gov, lots of revolving doors, plenty of help to their prog allies in government. Big ED.

                1. And yet they still maintain the Chicago School of Economics and keep federal judges Posner and Easterbrook (law and economics connoisseurs) on tenure at the law school.

                  But overall, UofC sucks.

        4. Whether or not the “corporate” belongs in there, at least they manage to hit on the police and the actual person running the city. They aren’t completely wrong about the corporate part either. The police unions are corporations for starters. And there are plenty of for profit corporations that are plenty involved in and who profit from law enforcement and police state-ish things.

  6. Just as the job of a constitutional judge is to justify unjustifiable legislation, the job of an independent reviewer is to justify unjustifiable shootings.

  7. Citizen complaints against Chicago police misbehavior often go nowhere, while the city spends $1 million per week settling accusations of police abuse.

    Hey Chicago Union Progressives: A mil a week would buy a LOT of teachers’ raises. Just throwin’ that out there.

    1. They really are taking it out of police pensions, just not officially so that the police can keep the pension money once a lawsuit is filed and inevitably found in their favor.

  8. Perhaps instead of firing Davis, Chicago should have convened panel to review his findings. Call it the Independent Review Authority Panel of Experts.

    1. I believe Apple has defensively registered “iRape”

      1. STEVE SMITH WILL SEE APPLE IN COURT.

    2. Something was done there and I noted it.

  9. Let’s just label these cops “radicalized” and then we can stuff em into Wes Clark’s concentration camps.

    Problem solved.

  10. Progressive utopia, indeed.

  11. Speaking of CPD, I saw a “true crime” show about this asshole over the weekend. There were people still making excuses for his behavior, such as “if only someone had told him early in his career not to torture suspects, he would have known better.”

    The whole cop world is just a morass of cognitive dissonance.

    1. Think about it this way. Imagine you’re a cop. That means you can do anything you want, because no one will stop you. This means you can lie on reports and in court, knowing that you will always be believed. After a while, you will really believe that no rules apply to you. After all, who’s going to stop you? The cops? Not only that, but you will start to believe your own lies. Since everything you say is treated as the truth, even when it is not, then you will start to believe that you decide what the truth is. You’ve got an entire legal system that functions to protect you, and a good portion of the population worships you as a god. I don’t see how someone could be a cop without becoming a true megalomaniac. That’s assuming you aren’t already one before you seek out the job.

    2. If only someone had told him early in his career not to torture suspects, he would have known better he hadn’t been caught.

      Shorter apologist.

      1. He was caught early on, but he got a commendation rather than sanctions.

        Some people interviewed said that if he had gotten censured by the brass as a young cop, he would have just stopped the torture and been a perfect angel. They really believed it was the fact that his bosses never said anything that made him do it, rather than just him being a psychopathic sadist.

        1. If it had been made clear that this wasn’t the way to get promoted, he would have done it a lot less and maybe not at all. But that’s not excuse. If nobody paid mafia buttonmen to kill people t most of them probably wouldn’t have, they’re still murderers.

    3. Meanwhile, Burge himself continues to say he did nothing wrong, and that everyone is lying but him, and he’s a perfect individual who was just dealing with scummy prisoners.

  12. Yes.

    That is the answer to Scott’s question.

    Mobile Death Chamber is another option, I think.

    1. A flatbed and a crane works.

  13. Perhaps Chicago needs more cows.

  14. “If there are a few bad police officers who have committed some shootings that are unnecessary or bad then it erodes the public’s confidence in all the other police officers out there,” Davis said.

    Which is why all shootings must be found to be justified, even when they are not. Wouldn’t want to erode public confidence. Much better for innocent people to die than to erode public confidence.

  15. Government creates an agency, in this case law enforcement, and over time the agency becomes self serving. They form public unions. They no longer serve the public, but serve themselves. And there is no cure for this that involves putting humans into positions of power over the lives of other humans.

    Replace cops with robots. That’s the only solution. Do not give people a gun and badge and a right to kill other humans. This has been proven beyond all doubt, to be a bad idea. No amount of training will fix this. The worst possible humans are drawn to jobs like this which will allow them to abuse other humans.

    1. Or make fewer thing illegal. Reduce opportunities for interaction between police and non-police (fuck the “civilian” shit, police are not soldiers), and little scared lambs might shoot fewer people.
      Of course, that requires the local government weening itself from fines as vital revenue source. So it’s unlikely to happen.

      1. The point of having so many laws is so the cops can stop anyone at anytime, and then find something to charge the person with if they fail to show sufficient respect. It’s rule of man, and the people in power like it that way.

      2. Of course, we should make a hell of a lot of things not illegal. But it isn’t going to happen. Because you have lots of people depending on things being illegal so that they can expand their little fiefdoms.

        That’s all it is, law enforcement, the courts, tons of federal agencies, they don’t serve the people anymore, they serve their own self interests. And that self interest demands that they continue to expand, not get smaller.

    2. It’s like you’ve never even seen the documentaries on robot police.

      1. Seriously. I saw one where the robot cop literally said “dead or alive, you’re coming with me.”

        1. That was the robots that the cops designed.

          So now I have to say, the cops should not be the ones to design their replacements.

      2. I haven’t seen them.

        Got any links?

        I saw that Terminator movie though. I think that it wasn’t based on a true story.

      3. Unfortunately, Harlan Ellison’s short “Brillo” is not available online.

    3. Under your proposal, I suspect the power would simply move up a level to those who control the robots.
      Only a reduction in laws and regulations could even make a dent, but I don’t see how that could realistically be accomplished against so many entrenched interests.

    4. I’d rather replace cops with nothing.

  16. I didn’t know Judge Dredd worked in Chicago? But I should have known cops were street judges.

    1. Dredd would be an improvement. He at least only shoots when justified by the laws of Megacity One, and usually he issues a warning and gives the criminals chance to surrender.

      1. Police typically warn suspects and provide a chance to surrender, but the window between warning and summary execution is about three-fifths of a second.

        1. Three-fifths? Are you saying cops are racists?

          1. +1 micro-aggression (MACRO-aggression?)

        2. That’s what so hilarious. Created as a parody of Harry Callahan, Dredd is now better on civil rights than US cops.

          -There’s no “furtive movement” bullshit with Dredd. Pull a gun, you die. Don’t pull a gun, he won’t react.
          -There’s no “stop and frisk” or “pro-active policing.” You do something illegal, he’s on you. You don’t, he don’t care.
          -Hell, he won’t act outside the law under any circumstance. There’s a lovely page where he’s back from his exile on the Moon, all the criminals start shitting their pants as he’s walking by but he’s not reacting even to the crime in front of him. Until he’s formally re-sworn as a judge, he won’t enforce the law.
          -Above all, he doesn’t live in fear for his life. It’s the criminals who should fear starting some shit with him.

        3. Three-fifths of a millisecond, maybe.

  17. Replace cops with robots. That’s the only solution.

    Tetra Vaal

  18. Does Obama have a nice position in his administration for these guys?

    Troubles at Gawker

    1. The commenters over there are very special people:

      “This is confusing. Did they resign because the proud gay was ashamed of getting a gay hooker or because they are ashamed that the story about the proud gay getting a gay hooker was taken down? Too much pride and shame to sort out without more details.”

      “Don’t get on the wrong side of Big Gay. Or else.”

      “gawker caters to the public school crowd…..they have been finished for years. they really need a sugar daddy like the nyt’s and politico. You, know some really big outside socialist money. Sounds like a contradiction doesn’t it….socialist money…..but that’s how stupid public school grads are, they think socialism is for everybody.”

      “… the gaystopo wins again …”

      I haven’t checked, but given the quality of mouth breather over there, I’m going to assume it was linked by Drudge.

      1. Meanwhile, Gawker’s own commenters have taken a “You idiots still don’t get it. Good riddance. And fire the guy who wrote the article while you’re at it” stance.

        And Gawker’s other writers are saying “I was totally against the article, even though I didn’t say anything about it! It’s the principle! I have no clue how the real world works, and I think we get paid because of magical fairies!”. I may have paraphrased that last sentence.

        1. Gawker is one of the only sites on the internet where the commenters are actually more moral than the writers. Random people writing on a gossip site under pseudonyms are continuously less sleazy than the actual paid writers employed by Gawker.

          They took Gawker apart over this idiocy and Denton also got shit on for the Hogan sex tape.

          1. Live by the clickbait model, die by the clickbait model, as mom always said.

        1. Obviously, those Drudgetards are at it again. I wish Matt Drudge would stop making this shit up and getting the teahadists all worked up.

      2. It was.

      3. Gawker imploding would give me such joy. Much schadenfreude!

    2. The comments there (God, I really have to stop reading the comments) are… interesting. Evidently Gawker is being brought down by the “gay agenda.”

    3. Are they all unionized now and shit? I was kind of hoping being unionized would force the management into an anti-union stance.

  19. Someone may have already posted this, not sure:

    White privilege tax

    1. Some of us are more concerned about a….Green Tax

  20. The performance evaluation covered 19 months and concluded that Davis “displays a complete lack of objectivity combined with a clear bias against the police in spite of his own lengthy police career.”

    I remember this kind of nonsense from when I was in the Marines. All my evaluations were fantastic until I pissed off the middle management and then all of a sudden my evaluations were terrible. Then when that guy left, mine went right back to being great again.

    Funny how that all works…

  21. “Citizen complaints against Chicago police misbehavior often go nowhere, while the city spends $1 million per week settling accusations of police abuse.”

    Oh, the complaints do go somewhere…right into the taxpayers’ pockets.

    1. We’ve investigated ourselves, and our findings indicate that we’re going to need more funding.

    2. That’s one of the things that gets me as a Chicago taxpayer. Some asshole cop fucks up and I end and others end up paying for their fuck ups while the cops gets paid leave. Fucking unaccountability.

  22. They were not in reasonable fear for their lives.

    Well, that’s his problem. No wonder they canned him. He doesn’t understand the standard that cops are held to . “Reasonable” fear? It is to laugh.

  23. I predict that CPD will make this man “disappear”, and then murder him.

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