Alderman O’Shea Clears Cops Months Before Investigation Completed

There is no way that Alderman Matt O’Shea (19th) was going to let an ongoing investigation in to an officer involved shooting prevent him from declaring the shooting justified. That’s right folks months before the official investigation in to the shooting is complete a brave alderman stood up and declared the shooting justified. Just don’t ask him what evidence he is basing his decision on.

We work closely with various other organizations trying to improve Chicago’s police accountability system and through this work we were repeatedly frustrated with the incredibly long time it took the Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA) to investigate officer involved shootings. Their investigations in to officer involved shootings averaged 18 months. Had we known that Alderman O’Shea had the special powers to understand such complicated officer involved shootings in a single bound we would have scrapped IPRA’s investigation long ago and just relied on his powers.

The scene of the officer involved shooting in the Mount Greenwood neighborhood is as chaotic and complicated a scene as we can remember one. It involves off duty fireman and police officers and a civilian with a gun who while not legally licensed to carry in Illinois did have a license in two other states to carry the weapon. The reality is that the media coverage has been less than stellar and hardly equips the reader with all the information necessary to make a definitive judgment about the events that occurred that evening even if that person is an elected official.

So what information did O’Shea admit to using as the basis for his decision? He admits in the article he has neither investigated the incident personally nor has he spoken to the officers involved or witnesses. So in other words he relied on the extensive but limited in depth media coverage of the incident to come out a year or more before the investigation is complete to declare what the findings will be.

I know we have very low expectations from our elected leaders in Chicago but somehow O’Shea has found a way to lower the bar even further. Sorry alderman but all you should say as an elected leader is that you are troubled by the incident and you look forward to the results of the investigation. Anything more you are likely to put your foot in your mouth. Here you found a way to fit both feet in your mouth. This is reason number one millions and one why people don’t have any faith in police accountability system or our politicians. O’Shea

Author: Tracy SiskaTracy Siska is the Founder and Executive Director of the Chicago Justice Project.
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