The Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA) was created in 2007 to replace the Office of Professional Standards. Their job since their creation has been to review allegations of police misconduct and restore the public’s confidence that troubled officers would be handled swiftly. So far, they’ve fallen short—taking up to 6 years to investigate cases resulting in several of them being dismissed altogether.
According to the Chicago Tribune, that’s what happened in the case of citizen Greg Larkin. Larkin alleged that he was hit in the head with a police baton in an unprovoked attack. His wound required stitches and he filed a complaint. There were witnesses who provided statements to investigators and photos of the injuries. But the investigation against the cop wouldn’t be completed for more than five years.
By the time the IPRA filed charges of police misconduct and called for the cop’s firing, it was too late. The Chicago Police Board, who handles the serious police misconduct cases, dismissed this one simply because the five year statute of limitations had ran out.
The agency is accused of moving slow in nearly all of their investigations. Not only are the drawn-out proceedings unfair to the accusers who watch the cops they allege are dangerous go on about their work within the community, but also to the officers themselves.
Attorneys representing officers accused of misconduct say it’s nearly impossible to mount a defense against charges for something that happened so many years ago. The Fraternal Order of Police also has complaints and plans to air them at an arbitration hearing saying the hearings violate their contract with the city.
Many say the delays simply aren’t necessary. One attorney, who represents officers when accused of misconduct, characterizes the situation as “ridiculous” and “maddening.”
“No one is difficult to find. No one is asserting their right to remain silent. No one is recanting. They are fairly simple, straightforward cases that shouldn’t take months or years to investigate,” said Thomas Needham.
Ilana Rozenweig, the head of IPRA, defends the agencies investigations saying they need to be thorough and are often complex. She admits, however, that the case involving Larkin should have never played out like that.
When a citizen is mistreated by police and has the courage to file a complaint, that complaint should be treated with respect and followed up on in a reasonable amount of time. Five years is not reasonable.
If you are charged with a crime and you believe the charges are unfair or unwarranted, we may be able to help. It’s easy to feel like no one is on your side in the system when you are the one called a “suspect.” Contact us today to discuss the charges against you and what options may be available.