A newly released report reveals that Chicago’s Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA) recommended the firing of two police officers and the suspension of two sergeants and two other officers following a violent encounter in the tumultuous days that followed. the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. two years ago.
One of the officers recommended for dismissal retired during the investigation.
In the Chicago incident, which unfolded on June 1, 2020, in the Brickyard Mall parking lot, a group of officers wielding batons smashed the windows of a Hyundai sedan, in what investigators said to be an erroneous belief that a man was inside who had smashed the windows of a nearby business with a hammer.
In reality, according to the report, there was no such assailant in the car.
“COPA discovered that the Department’s interaction with the complainant was the result of Officer David Laskus providing false information about the complainant’s vehicle,” the report said. “COPA has not been able to locate a single witness, beyond Officer Laskus, who observed…an occupant with a hammer or who saw a hammer in the vehicle.”
Nonetheless, the COPA report suggests that the officer’s allegation that a hammer-wielding assailant inside the car led officers to surround the vehicle, smash the windows and pull the occupants outside. floor interior.
“Officer Laskus’ own statements regarding the hammer defy basic logic,” the investigators wrote. “Officer Laskus invented the existence of the hammer to justify his actions related to stopping and detaining the occupants of the vehicle.”
COPA recommended that Laskus be fired and noted that they would have made a similar recommendation for a second officer, Patrick Dwyer, who investigators say engaged in “unprofessional, derogatory and racist remarks.”
(The report states that Dwyer retired from the department before such a sanction could be imposed and that he had in fact submitted his request for retirement before the incident.)
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating a violent arrest at Chicago’s Brickyard Mall that was caught on camera, the Cook County state’s attorney said Thursday. reports Lisa Chavarria.
The car’s front passenger, Mia Wright, said she was dragged out of the car by her hair by Laskus and suffered injuries that left her blind in one eye.
“They dragged me out of the car and threw me to the ground,” she said.
Earlier this year, the city of Chicago reached a $1.65 million settlement in a lawsuit filed by Wright and his associates.
At the time of the incident, Mayor Lori Lightfoot promised a thorough review of the allegations.
“I want to be very clear,” she said. “We will hold accountable those who cross the line.”
The COPA report revealed Thursday had been sent to the superintendent of police. David Brown last fall. The Chicago Police Board filing indicates that a separation hearing recommended by Laskus is scheduled for next week.
“Sincerity is the cornerstone of the law enforcement profession,” notes the COPA report. “Any member who knowingly provides false information is unfit to properly enforce the law.”