The affidavit override rule function within the police accountability system should have been a very powerful tool to help leaders bring in real accountability. A recent report released by the Deputy Inspector General for Public Safety (DPSIG) documents that the power was rarely if ever used for many years despite evidence being contained in investigative files that would have supported the application of this power.
From 2004 until the moment the Governor signs HB 3653 in to law it has been a requirement in Chicago for anyone, who is not a police officer, who wants to file a complaint against a Chicago Police officer to sign a sworn affidavit under the threat of perjury that the contents of their complaint were truthful. Complaints filed without an affidavit are supposed to receive a limited investigation and if evidence can be found to support the complaint the leader of the investigative agency is supposed to seek approval of an override to the affidavit.
From 2007 to some time in 2018 the police accountability system in Chicago was was made up of the Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA) and the CPD’s Internal Affairs Division (IAD). In 2018 IPRA replaced by the Citizen Office of Police Accountability (COPA). This report specially details how both IPRA & IAD almost never used this authority provided to them in law by the Illinois General Assembly.
The DPSIG reviewed a randomly selected group of case files from IPRA/COPA and IAD from the time period of 2016-2018. This time period covered the switch over to COPA and the first months of COPA’s operations. The results identified multiple occasions over the two years were all three investigative bodies possessed evidence in the case file that was more than sufficient to support seeking an override of the affidavit rule and the investigative agency failed to do so.
In this episode we welcome back DPSIG Deborah Witzburg back to the show to discuss this review of the affidavit override rule.
You can watch a video of the live streamed video below as well as videos from Witzburg’s two prior appearances.
Here is the video from her appearance discussing the “COPA’s Compliance with Chicago’s Video Release Policy”
This is WItrzburg’s first appearance discussing “CPD’s Management & Production of Records”.