>>> On October 12, 2016, the City of Chicago released documents on complaints against police officers covering a period of almost 50 years. The Fraternal Order of Police tried to block the release in court but was unsuccessful.
The city posted the two files to a password-protected Dropbox account. The Excel file contains 134,683 complaints from 1967 to 2001, and the PDF contains over 90,000 complaints from 2000 to 2014.
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The Chicago Sun-Times, which filed the original request for these records, gives a breakdown of the spreadsheet:
• There were 134,683 records of complaints against 18,907 officers. It appears some complaints might have been listed twice.
• In 87 percent of the complaints, 116,901 of them, no action was taken.• Action was taken in 17,783 other complaints — about 13 percent of the total — ranging from reprimands and suspensions to firings.
• Two officers accumulated more than 100 complaints each.• Just 553 complaints ended in a firing, or “separation.” That’s 0.4 percent of the total complaints filed.
Former Supt. LeRoy Martin, who led the department from 1987 to 1992, had nine complaints — the most of any top cop. Current Supt. Eddie Johnson had eight; Phil Cline and Matt Rodriguez had four each; Richard Brzeczek had two, and Terry Hillard had one. None of the complaints led to any action. Garry McCarthy and Jody Weis weren’t affiliated with the department during this period.
The most frequent form of discipline was a reprimand. That happened with about 4,169 complaints, or 3 percent of the total.
The most common reason for being fired was testing positive for drugs, which happened in 49 instances. Other leading reasons for being separated: domestic altercations, possession or sale of drugs, and use of weapon against department policies.
The vast majority of the complaints from 1967 through 2001 were filed in the 1990s. There were just seven complaints in the late 1960s; 88 in the ’70s; 9,945 in the ’80s; 112,839 in the ’90s; and 1,184 in the early 2000s.
ABC7 also crunched the numbers in the spreadsheet:
The records reveal no action taken in 116,893 of the cases --- that is no action more than 86 percent of the time.
The top three complaints, according to the records during those years:
1. Neglect of duty/conduct unbecoming to officers on duty (More than 10,000 complaints)
2. Improper searches without a warrant (13,400 complaints)
3. Arrestee complaints about how they were treated during arrest (20,000 complaints)
The data show that in 97 percent of the complaints from people being arrested, no action was taken against officers.
Related resource: Independent Police Review Authority [Chicago]