The City of Chicago just fired an investigator after he determined that police were at fault in several fatal shootings.
Lorenzo Davis, 65, found that several civilian shootings – including those which resulted in death – were completely unjustified.
After issuing these reports, he was fired. He says that’s because he resisted direct orders to fabricate and reverse those findings, according to internal records of his agency obtained by local Chicago WBEZ.
The staff of the Independent Police Review Authority received an internal email on July 9, from Scott M. Ando, the chief administrator of the Independent Police Review Authority, explaining that they will no longer employ the supervising investigator Lorenzo Davis, a former Chicago police commander.
The IPRA is responsible for investigating police-brutality complaints and recommending any punishment they deem appropriate.
WBEZ reports that “Davis’s termination came less than two weeks after top IPRA officials, evaluating Davis’s job performance, accused him of ‘a clear bias against the police’ and called him ‘the only supervisor at IPRA who resists making requested changes as directed by management in order to reflect the correct finding with respect to OIS,’ as officer-involved shootings are known in the agency.”
The IPRA has been around since 2007, but until Davis’s findings, they had only found one civilian shooting by law enforcement officers to be unjustified.
WBEZ says they asked to interview Ando, who promoted last year by Mayor Rahm Emanuel. But the IPRA spokesman said “there would be no interview” and gave this statement:
“This is a personnel matter that would be inappropriate to address through the media, though the allegations are baseless and without merit. IPRA is committed to conducting fair, unbiased, objective, thorough and timely investigations of allegations of police misconduct and officer-involved shootings.”
In his performance review, Davis – a former police commander – was said to “display a complete lack of objectivity combined with a clear bias against the police in spite of his own lengthy police career.”
But Davis was himself a member of the police department for 23 years. How could he have a “bias against” the police?
WEBZ reports that “as a commander, he headed detective units, the department’s Austin district and, finally, its public-housing unit. He retired from the department in 2004.”
“I did not like the direction the police department had taken,” Davis explained. He did not have a bias against the police, he had an informed observation about the direction the department was taking. “It appeared that officers were doing whatever they wanted to do. The discipline was no longer there.”
“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.
His final evaluation, issued June 26, said he “is clearly not a team player.”
Davis says his employers only turned against him after he found six police shootings of civilians to be unjustified.
“They have shot people dead when they did not have to shoot,” Davis explained. “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.”
Anthony Finnell, a former IPRA supervising investigator, says “when the investigators would bring cases to us, as supervisors, we would look, first, to see if the officer was justified in his actions.” He now heads a police-oversight agency in Oakland, California.