Updated: 10/18/10 6:21 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS/WBBM) — Six more Chicago police officers have been pulled off the streets as the Independent Police Review Authority investigates allegations that a suspect in police custody was beaten.
On Friday evening, Chicago Police Supt. Jody Weis said a sergeant was being put on desk duty over the alleged beating. Now, he says six more officers may have been involved.
LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Mike Krauser Reports
The backdrop was an officer awards ceremony for a job well done, but moments later allegations of misconduct had Supt. Weis announcing the number of policemen stripped of their powers had grown to seven.
“We want to send a message to the department as well as the community that we do take these actions serious, and there is just no room for brutality in this department,” said Weis. “The allegations are serious and that’s why we stripped seven people of their police powers. I knew this would be news and that’s why we tried to get in front of this story.”
If the officers took part in a beating or simply looked the other way isn’t known.
Late Friday, Weis indicated a sergeant was relieved of duties following the alleged beating of a suspect in custody. It followed an incident earlier in the week.
The continuing investigation by the Independent Police Review Authority convinced Weis to take further action today.
But Weis is not letting on what might have happened.
“Looking at the facts that were shared with us from the Independent Police Review Authority, I’m not going to comment on those because it’s their case. This was pretty egregious,” Weis said. “We try to be fair, we try to be consistent. My standard is always reasonable, and from what I saw, this wasn’t reasonable.”
Weis gave no other details about the incident — including when or where it happened or what happened to the suspect.
Weis joined CBS 2’s Walter Jacobson and Kate Sullivan on set Monday during the 6 p.m. news, but refused to comment on the investigation, stating that it was “not proper” for him to speak about details of the case because it is being handled by IPRA, and not the police department.
LISTEN: Police Union Responds, Newsradio 780’s Mike Krauser Reports
The leader of the Chicago police union criticized Weis for going public too soon.
Mark Donahue, the president of the Fraternal Order of Police, says the “superintendent acted irresponsibly” in telling the press about the brutality complaint.
“Normally in good, sound investigative practices, you don’t talk about things until you’re absolutely sure as to what happened,” he said.
Donahue says the latest officers relieved of duty haven’t even been given a reason why.
“Typically there is something more that goes along the actions the superintendent has taken, and as of yet, there are no allegations leveled against these six officers,” said Donahue.
He says he’ll be sure that his officers get due process.
The police department continues to take criticism over the high-profile Anthony Abbate case, where an officer was taped beating a female bartender.
CBS 2 Legal Analyst Irv Miller says it may be why Weis is taking action now.
“Frankly, it’s refreshing Supt. Weis is going out of the way to say to the police department, ‘if you do it, you are in trouble. If you see it and don’t report, it you are in trouble,’” said Miller.
The seven officers have been assigned to desk duty while the investigation continues. Weis isn’t saying whether he believes the allegations. He says the move today does not imply they are guilty. But, in his words, “to keep them on the streets would put them and the department at risk.”
Newsradio 780’s Mike Krauser and CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole contributed to this report.