Chicago police officers faced nearly 135,000 complaints over a 34-year period but fewer than 1 percent of those cases resulted in a firing, according to a trove of records Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration released yesterday under a court order, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. Despite the Emanuel administration’s pledge of transparent government, the information was released to the Sun-Times and other news organizations late in the day in a format that prevented a complete analysis of recent complaints.
Those disciplinary cases are a focus of a wide-ranging U.S. Justice Department investigation of the police department after the Laquan McDonald shooting. The information was distributed in two parts: a searchable, sortable spreadsheet and a 7,000-page PDF file. The Sun-Times was able to analyze only the spreadsheet, which covered a period from 1967 to 2001. There were 134,683 records of complaints against 18,907 officers. It appears some complaints might have been listed twice. In 87 percent of the complaints, no action was taken. Two officers accumulated more than 100 complaints each. Just 553 complaints ended in a firing, or “separation.”