After a scathing report by the U.S. Justice Department, the Independent Police Review Authority on Jan. 18 was accused of leaking a confidential memo about the agency’s investigation into Lt. Glenn Evans.
The allegations were part of a quarterly report by Inspector General Joseph Ferguson, who said an IPRA investigator’s “improper handling of confidential investigative documents violated IPRA’s confidentiality policies and the city’s personnel files.”
It’s the latest damaging information concerning the IPRA, which was heavily criticized in a recent DOJ report that accused the agency of failing to investigate police conduct and carrying out biased, one-sided investigations that favored and protected Chicago Police involved in controversial[JB1] shootings. After years of turmoil, the beleaguered agency will soon be replaced with the Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA).
The IG report does not name the investigator, but the investigation includes allegations that are eerily similar to a lawsuit Evans filed against the city and 12 former and current IPRA employees.
According to the IG report, an investigation had “established” that a former IPRA investigator “emailed, without authorization, a confidential IPRA memorandum regarding an investigation of a high-ranking Chicago Police Department employee to an individual who did not work for the city and had no connection to the confidential investigation.”
The IG report also said the same investigator “improperly emailed a confidential lab report regarding DNA testing from the employee’s official IPRA email account to a personal, unsecured email account.”
Ferguson attempted to determine whether the IPRA investigator or co-workers had “leaked” the DNA testing report to a reporter who had “both publicly reported on and posted a PDF of the confidential report.”
According to the report, the IPRA investigator has since left the agency and “moved out of the surrounding area – beyond the reach of an OIG subpoena.” The IG report also said the reporter declined to cooperate with the IG investigation. Thus, Ferguson said, his office “could not develop sufficient evidence directly linking the former IPRA investigator or any other city employee to the public reporting and publishing of the confidential DNA report.”
In his lawsuit against the city, Evans, a 30-year veteran of CPD, claimed that a bitter IPRA colleague, Matrice Campbell, leaked documents to a WEBZ reporter. Evans said the move came after he filed an insubordination complaint against Campbell while the two worked at CPD’s Second District. As a result, Campbell was suspended in 1999.
Evans was acquitted in 2015 after he was accused of shoving a gun down a man’s throat. Evans was fired after IPRA originally recommended a 15-day suspension in a separate case in 2011. In that case, Evans was accused of grabbing a woman and pushing her nose after she refused to be fingerprinted after an arrest for a domestic disturbance. Evans was not suspended, but the woman, Rita King, sued him, claiming the incident left her with a fracture eye socket.
Citing a five-year statute of limitations, IPRA said it had no choice but to fire Evans. However, in his lawsuit, Evans blames former Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez and the city for bowing to political pressures caused by the Laquan McDonald video.