Tuesday, December 08, 2015

cosa nostra in chiraq tryna destroy 50 years worth of misconduct records...,

WaPo |  Chicago authorities must notify journalists and activists before they destroy decades of records related to police misconduct, Illinois Circuit Court Judge Peter Flynn ruled in an emergency order Thursday.

The order comes after journalist and activist Jamie Kalven petitioned the court after police officials said they would destroy hundreds of thousands of pages of evidence, investigative files and computer records related to Chicago police officer misconduct reports older than four years.

The documents are among a trove of data requested by Kalven and other media organizations, including the Chicago Tribune and Sun-Times, dating back to 1967. Last year, city officials agreed to release all of the police misconduct information, but the city’s police unions sued to prevent the documents from becoming public and the issue remains in limbo. The case will eventually be decided by an Illinois appeals court.

The emergency order comes in the wake of a large public outcry following the release of the video that shows police officer James Van Dyke shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times in October 2014. Van Dyke was charged with first-degree murder hours before the video’s release.

Kalven and his attorney, Craig Futterman, a University of Chicago law professor, played a critical role in the release of the dash-cam footage by reporting on the video’s existence and demanding that officials release it. Kalven expressed relief at the judge’s order, saying it would give him time to go back to court before authorities could set a “bonfire” to decades’ worth of key information about police misconduct in Chicago. “Ministers, civic groups … are all calling for a full examination of the systems of accountability in the city.”

Futterman called the order a “band-aid” and said it’s unclear what would happen if police officials notify journalists they plan to destroy the records. “We would do everything in our power to stop it, but we proactively need to work toward a permanent solution,” he said.

Thousands more recent electronic records have already been released to Kalven under a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit decided last year. His organization, the Invisible Institute, made the records available in a searchable database.