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City inspector general finds Chicago Police Department employs dozens of cops who knowingly lied

Sam Charles and Jake Sheridan, Chicago Tribune on

Published in News & Features

CHICAGO — The Chicago Police Department continues to employ more than 100 officers who knowingly provided false information during criminal investigations, according to a report released Thursday by the city’s watchdog agency.

The Office of the Inspector General found that “structural failures” in the Police Department’s accountability systems allow officers who have violated Rule 14 to continue working in positions “that depend upon their truthfulness and credibility.”

CPD’s Rule 14 prohibits officers from “making a false report, written or oral.” A sustained violation of the rule typically signals the end of an officer’s career because they can no longer credibly testify under oath.

The various oversight bodies that monitor for police misconduct all agree that sustained Rule 14 violations should automatically trigger an officer’s firing.

Of the more than 100 officers who violated Rule 14, several continue to work as beat officers and detectives, according to the IG.

“Effective enforcement of Rule 14 is what stands between us and a world in which police officers get away with lying. We cannot expect effective, accountable law enforcement if we do not take every opportunity to ensure credibility,” Inspector General Deborah Witzburg said in a statement. “We cannot keep people safe from crimes we can’t prosecute, and we cannot build trust without truthfulness.”


Rule 14 is underenforced in part because of gaps in policies and procedures, but also because of case-by-case decisions, Witzburg said in a livestream detailing the 40-page report Thursday.

The report described cases in which CPD members violated Rule 14 but weren’t separated from the department. Other case studies described Rule 14 violations not being pursued after officers were found to have lied and Rule 14 violations being expunged from officers’ disciplinary histories.

Witzburg’s investigation into the enforcement of Rule 14 was mandated by the sweeping consent decree a federal judge placed the Police Department under in 2019. She noted the rule banning lying was one of only a handful of department rules and trends the decree ordered her office to analyze to flag the rule’s importance.

In response to the investigation, CPD, the Civilian Office of Police Accountability and the Chicago Police Board acknowledged the seriousness of Rule 14 violations. However, the departments did not accept the report’s recommendations they should fire officers who have committed violations.


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