Chicago - Jul. 1, 2020
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The [Thursday] Papers

"Chicago police misconduct records that are five years old and older will remain available to the public, according to a ruling from the Illinois Supreme Court on Thursday," the Tribune reports.

"The Chicago Fraternal Order of Police had sued the city contending that such records should be destroyed after five years under the city's police contract. An arbitrator had called for the city and the FOP to come to an agreement on the issue, but the city had successfully challenged it at the appellate level.

"The state's high court found . . . that the arbitration award violated clear public policy in the state's Local Records Act."

So the state supreme court ruled that state law trumped the police union contract. I wonder if that sets a precedent for other contract clawbacks.

The FOP contended that by allowing those records to be subject to open-records requests under the state's Freedom of Information Act, the city violated the union's collective bargaining agreement.

"The majority noted that the agreement does call for the destruction of disciplinary records, including those kept by the predecessor to the Civilian Office of Police Accountability, after five years, and that the city did systematically eliminate them up until 1991. At that point, federal judges in civil actions began issuing orders preserving records.

The FOP filed grievances over the issue in 2011 and 2012.

In 2014, the state appellate court ruled that all complaints about Chicago police misconduct and the related investigative files, even for accusations considered unfounded, are public records and must be turned over by city officials. At the time, a three-judge panel rejected the city's claim that such files are exempt from the Illinois Freedom of Information Act . . .

The court noted "the FOP argues that there is no well-defined, dominant public policy that would allow Illinois courts to set aside a provision within a collective bargaining agreement mandating document destruction of governmental records like police disciplinary and investigation records."

But the majority disagreed.

"In light of the plain language of the Local Records Act, we agree with the City that the statutory framework the General Assembly constructed makes clear that Illinois recognizes a public policy favoring the proper retention of government records and that the destruction of public records may occur only after consideration by and with the approval from the Commission in a process established by the (Local Records) Commission."

Likewise, WBEZ reports that "The City of Chicago had argued that despite the contract language, judge after judge had ruled that the destruction of the records went against the interests of the public and so the files must be preserved.

In Thursday's decision . . . Illinois' highest court sided with those past rulings, saying the contract language conflicts with an overriding state law that demands the preservation of important public records.

Justice Lloyd Karmeier wrote the destruction of the complaint records would violate "an explicit, well-defined, and dominant public policy . . .

But the Chicago chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police had argued that if the city wanted to preserve the records, it should renegotiate the contract, not ignore it.

In his lone dissent, Justice Thomas Kilbride sided with the FOP because "an arbitrator had found in favor of the union and that the validity of arbitration awards was 'a fundamental principle of labor law.'"

I'd like to see some experts sort out the implications of this decision - does it jeopardize the provisions of other collective bargaining agreements if the state finds an overruling law and/or public interest?

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"The state's highest court found that the need to preserve public records outweighed a section of the collective bargaining agreement between the city and Fraternal Order of Police that mandated the destruction of police misconduct files after five years," the Sun-Times reports.

At the crux of the lawsuit was section 8.4 of the CBA, which reads:

"All disciplinary investigation files, disciplinary history card entries, Independent Police Review Authority and Internal Affairs Division disciplinary records, and any other disciplinary record or summary of such record other than records related to Police Board cases, will be destroyed five (5) years after the date of the incident or the date upon which the violation is discovered, whichever is longer."

And via Capitol Fax:

Screen Shot 2020-06-18 at 11.20.55 AM.png

So it wouldn't be a new precedent, but instead the reinforcement of an old one.

Now, what else in the police union contract could be construed to violate state law?

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Conversely, some state legislators have passed laws to overcome provisions in police union contracts. Go for it, Illinois!

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P.S. 1:03 P.M.: I'll have more on this tomorrow next week, I've gotten some answers to my questions that I was too lazy to dig up this morning.

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The CTU's Scooby Doo-Doo
I mean, the day after the election the teachers' union's candidate had breakfast with John Daley, so . . .

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INBOX
Juvenile Death Sentences
A special message from Julie Biehl, director of the Children and Family Justice Center:

"I write to call your attention to an article on page one of [Wednesday's] Chicago Tribune.

The article is important to us because it quotes our tremendously talented and hard-working Shobha L. Mahadev, who is a Clinical Associate Professor of Law at CFJC, and it is important to Tribune readers because it calls attention to the plight of 30 people once sentenced to life without parole for crimes that occurred when they were children.

All of them are awaiting an opportunity to ask a judge for shorter sentences in light of court rulings prohibiting life without parole for all but the rarest of juveniles, those who cannot be rehabilitated. But the shutdown of courts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 has brought delays. Although the virus isn't spreading in closed courtrooms, it has moved with deadly consequences inside the jails and prisons where they wait for courts to open.

"It's an urgent situation," Shobha told the Tribune.

"When we talk about prisons, we expect people to be held accountable for the crimes they commit," she said. "None of this is supposed to be a death sentence by virtue of a horrible pandemic, and we know that prisons are uniquely susceptible to this."

Please read the full story here.

And please consider making a donation to the Children and Family Justice Center to help us continue our work.

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INBOX
Video Matters
"As law enforcement's use of body-worn cameras and dash-cams has increased in the U.S., the growth of attorneys' introduction of video evidence in court, including jury trials, has followed. Psychology and criminal justice researchers are now trying to determine the various influences of this footage, such as its impact on trial outcomes," UIC says in a news release.

One such study, which is published in the journal Behavioral Sciences and the Law, suggests both eyewitness race and available body-worn camera footage influence jurors' judgments.

To examine the matter, researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago and Lakehead University ran a "mock trial" study using evidence from an actual case where an officer used controversial force in an altercation with a Black motorist who was charged with resisting arrest.

"High-profile police-involved deaths of African American citizens have fueled public interest in police accountability and body-worn cameras," said Bette L. Bottoms, UIC professor of psychology and co-author of the study.

Over 250 people participated as jurors, who were divided into three groups that either saw the actual body-worn camera video, which showed the officer becoming angry and agitated; read a transcript of the video, which included all statements and actions, but could not portray the officer's emotion like the video; or were given the same facts without any mention of body-worn camera footage.

Jurors who saw footage of the arrest, compared with those who read a transcript or were not aware an arrest video was available, were less likely to vote the defendant guilty of resisting arrest, and also rated the officer's use of force less justifiable, and the officer more culpable and less credible.

Witnessing on video the officer's escalating emotions and the defendant's reactions to being tasered appear to have made the jurors question the officer's credibility and whether his use of force was justifiable, according to the researchers.

Further, when an eyewitness supporting the defendant was White, compared with Black, mock jurors were more likely to believe the defendant, less likely to consider the defendant guilty of resisting arrest, and more likely to consider the officer culpable for the incident.

"This is one more of many reasons to recommend police training that emphasizes remaining calm and professional in body language, voice and action," Bottoms said. "Also, even though previous research has found African American defendants and victims are often believed to be less credible than others, now we have evidence that Black supporting eyewitnesses are considered less believable as well, highlighting the need for courtroom interventions that address bias."

Alana Saulnier of Lakehead University and Kelly Burke of UIC are co-authors on the paper.

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New on the Beachwood today . . .

The Taste Of Subservience
"Aunt Jemima, the minstrel-based, cringey racist 'mammy' figure on the classic fake maple syrup of our childhoods - and for some white people, their only black friend - is about to go."

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ChicagoReddit

Social Distancing on The Red Line from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Plywood Street Art In Downtown Chicago.

See also from the South Side Weekly: Board-Ups As Blank Canvas.

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BeachBook

Universities Step Up Fight For Open-Access Research.

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TweetWood
A sampling of the delight and disgust you can find @BeachwoodReport.

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The Beachwood Tip It Over Line: Tip it real good.



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Posted on June 18, 2020


MUSIC - This Summer's Soundtrack Started Here.
TV - M*A*S*H Theme Song's Weird History.
POLITICS - SCOTUS Blesses Church + State.
SPORTS - Tip Your Cap To The Negro Leagues.

BOOKS - The Legacy Of Racism For Children.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - The Chagall Windows.


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