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.


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.