9/29/2015Illinois: Chicago Police Investigator Sues Cops Over Traffic Stop
Cops in Chicago, Illinois caught turning off dashcam video during a traffic stop involving a police misconduct investigator.
It is never a good sign when a police officer turns off his dashcam in the middle of of a traffic stop. That is what happened in Chicago, Illinois after officers realized that they had pulled over no ordinary driver.
George R. Roberts, 51, was making his way home on East 85th Street on New Year's Day when he saw the flashing lights in his rear-view mirror. Roberts is a supervising investigator for the city's Independent Police Review Authority. He exposes police corruption for a living.
At 1:20 that morning, Roberts was ordered out of his black 2007 Chevy Trailblazer at gunpoint. The officers suspected he might be a bit tipsy. As Roberts exited, the 315-pound man was thrown onto his knees.
"Don't make me [expletive] shoot you," Officer P. Corso yelled.
Officer B. Ellison searched Roberts and found his investigator's credentials in his wallet. Immediately, the officer is seen on tape sprinting to his squad car to turn off the dashcam. No other audio or video of the encounter exists, even though two other cars had recording equipment.
Roberts was placed in handcuffs, which he says were clasped so tight that he was in pain. When he complained, the officers allegedly mocked him, pulled him out of the car, and threw him again to the ground.
"What are you going to tell me next, you can't breathe?" Officer R. Adams allegedly said.
Roberts was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, a fact that was shared with and reported by local media. After taking on the case for Roberts, however, attorney Timothy J. Fiscella realized that there were significant discrepancies in the arrest reports, which falsely indicated that no video of the stop existed -- even though the first few minutes had been preserved on tape. A Cook County Circuit Court judge reviewed the evidence and found Roberts not guilty. Now Roberts is suing the officers involved for using excessive force.
"The misconduct... was objectively unreasonable and was undertaken intentionally with malice, willfulness, and reckless indifference to plaintiff's constitutional rights," Fiscella wrote in his complaint. "The defendants intended that their conduct would cause severe emotional distress to the plaintiff and knew that there was a high probability that their conduct would cause severe emotional distress to the plaintiff."
The suit seeks a jury trial. The Chicago Police Department has not yet responded to the allegations.