Wednesday, December 11, 2013

UNAPPEALING: CPD Releases Off-Duty Attack Reports (Finally)

One of the more remarkable events that CWB reported on this year came early on the morning of Sunday, September 8.

As we wrote that day, two completely separate calls for help from off-duty officers on the streets of Wrigleyville came into the 19th district around 5AM.

BEFORE & AFTER: One page of the "bike" police report as originally
provided by the CPD (left) and as provided after an appeal to the
Illinois Attorney General's Office (right).
Those two events within 20 minutes put a fine point on what we had been reporting for four months. The people who are being attacked on the streets of our neighborhood aren't just drunks wandering the alleys as CAPS officers and politicians had long claimed. The victims are almost always on sidewalks and streets and they aren't just a bunch of drunks. Sometimes, these reports would eventually show, the victims are cops.

The official denials and slamming of this blog came fast and furious. Within hours, a 19th district executive wrote that our story was "Totally false!" The exclamation point is his.

Also on the same day, a local TV news producer told a CWB reader that "[The Chicago Police Department's Office of] media affairs claims it is not true." The Media Affairs denials managed to keep this story off of the news and out of the papers.

A CWB reader decided to look for the truth. They filed Freedom of Information Act requests.

The "bike" narrative as originally released by CPD (top) and as released after
appealing to the Attorney General (bottom). CWB's original story,
declared "totally false" by a police executive, is HERE.
The police department routinely provides such police reports upon request after "censoring" highly sensitive information such as victims' names, confidential sources, etc. The public virtually always receives reports that at least allow the reader to get the gist of what happened.

Not in these two cases, though.

The responses our reader received regarding the two off-duty attacks were laughable.

The Chicago Police Department almost completely blacked out every element of the reports, making it impossible to know what happened in the cases.

Having seen more than a few FOIA responses in their day, our reader immediately knew that such heavy censoring of such routine police reports probably meant that they were on the right trail.

They exercised their right to appeal the department's response to the Illinois State Attorney General's Office.

The "firehouse" narrative originally released by CPD (top) and as released after
appealing to the Attorney General (bottom). CWB's original story,
declared "totally false" by a police executive, is HERE.
The AG's office agreed that the CPD's response required either legal justification or a new response.

Finally, more than 3 months after the incidents, our reader has received minimally censored copies of the reports.

We are sharing them with you today on our Google Drive. The folder is HERE.

We believe that you will find that our report was far from being "Totally false!" and "not true."

Victim employment information is routinely blacked out before police reports are released to the public. So, these reports do not specifically identify the victims as police officers. The police dispatcher that morning very explicitly did.

Further, the CPD's initial response to our reader mistakenly failed to black out one victim's name. That victim is identifiable online as being a Chicago Police Officer. CWB has redacted the officer's name with a red box in these images.

We take our role in improving our neighborhood seriously. Whether our report is about off-duty officers being assaulted and battered or about someone stealing money from a laundry room, CWB will always provided the best and most accurate reporting available.

19 comments:

  1. I think the local news producer who so smugly informed the CWB reader that the story wasn't true should be contacted for a statement (and it was smugness). It's nice though, that she did give Tom Elliot a dramatic, sun-dappled starring role in her segment. Maybe she would have been better off to have actually done some real investigation.

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  2. this is insane. deny, cover up, deny. no surprises from the architect of the "most open and transparent administration in history."

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  3. Taking the advice we have been given by the CPD at CAPS meetings, those cops should not have been traveling alone. They should have been in a group. So it is their own fault.

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    1. Good one. I don't like walking to/from the bar in a group because when I'm ready to go, I'm ready to go. So I just don't go at all.

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  4. I'll bet you guys wanted to be investigative reporters when you were growing up. Wish fulfilled! You beat out the so-called big boys!!

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    1. Yeah but they missed the report times. Just kidding. Keep up the great work! You are bringing things to light that never would have. Thanks!

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  5. Nice investigational reporting!

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  6. Many thanks to whoever filed the Freedom of Information Act requests!

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  7. The whole story seemed kind of strange to many from the start. Not so much about the off duty bike cop but the two off duties that were beat up and ran to the fire house. I mean what were they doing after 5:00am in the morning? Nothing good happens then. And then all the covering up. Why would the 19 police station need to do that? If it were a regular citizen there would be no cover up. As a tax payer we would like to know what really happened. Strange.

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  8. sounds like another cover up in this district by the bosses. Nothing but lies and bullshit

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  9. I don't understand the cover up/denial. There are police incidents on/off duty daily on the news so what's the big deal? I did notice something suspicious in the report of the two off dutys running to the fire house. Check out the times at the top. The report was made nearly 48 hours after the incident. Why? I'm not sure how police procedure works but I figured thats something that gets reported right away. I would have. It could have helped catch the guys. Maybe that's the reason for the secrecy. Any investigative reporters interested?

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    1. Our impression at the time was that the district leaders had a strong desire to not have the media get ahold of a story about 3 off-duty officers being involved in Wrigleyville street crimes two weeks after an ABC7 report on the topic.

      At the time of these incidents, the district had been in Radio Assignment Pending (RAP) status for over two hours. The only reason the bike victim received any response is because he was a police officer calling for help. Had he been an ordinary citizen, no timely response would have been made. (We support and agree with the off-duty receiving "special" response courtesy, by the way.)

      The "firehouse" victims did not receive a particularly timely response because there were not enough officers to muster one AND because there was confusion at the time regarding if there had been one off-duty officer incident or two. As we know, there were two.

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    2. Maybe what was said isn't what really happened. Doing a report 48 hours later on a supposed serious incident? Think about it

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  10. CWB thank you so much for your continued in-depth investigative reporting of the truth. You guys are awesome...you should have your own nightly TV news show. The ratings would be phenomenal. All other news shows would be shamed by the ridiculous fluff pieces and politically correct blurrings of the truth that are their stock in trade. Pam Zekman could be one of your investigative journalists. You deserve to be highly paid news anchors. ABC, NBC, CBS, WGN...are you listening?

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    1. What is amazing, when robberies on the South side rises, it makes the news. Nothing about this "priviledged neighborhood".

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  11. This should put an end to any more questions about CWB's validity as an accurate news source. I think those of us who live in Lakeview and see what is going on almost daily know who is telling the truth around here. Thank you for exceptional work, CWB. You do your neighbors proud!
    Come on CPD and news media...get with the program. The problem has been identified for you. We need help solving it now.

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  12. There is more to the second story, the "fire house" keep digging. Someone is lying. Is there a coverup somewhere?

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  13. I just don't get it. Isnt this the type of crime that's been plaguing our neighborhood? The crime that's always the topic of discussion with the people in charge of our police station? Why would they wait nearly 48 hours to report it? This serious incident happened to police officers. Don't they have a duty to report it immediately? Isn't there policy regarding that? Wouldn't the community be better served to know about this right away? With the late night bars closing around that time it makes me wonder about judgement.

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    1. You are correct that you just don't get it. Politics is a game of power. Those who admit to shortcomings in their duties lose power. Reporting this type of crime, with the victims being the cops themselves, is an admission that the spike in muggings and robberies are much more than just "perception."

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