Hillard Voices “Outrage” At Alleged Sex Assault By 2 Cops
UPDATED 03/31/11 5:09 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) - Interim Chicago Police Supt. Terry Hillard voiced “extreme outrage” Thursday afternoon at allegations that two police officers raped a North Side woman while on duty early Wednesday morning.
“I must express my extreme disappointment and outrage at such accusations against members of this department,” Hillard said at a news conference at Police Headquarters on Thursday. “Rest assured that these allegations, if proven true, these officers will fully be held accountable and punished. I will not tolerate this type of behavior. The Police Department will not tolerate this type of behavior.”
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As CBS 2’s Susanna Song reports, police say they immediately began to investigate allegations that the officers sexually assaulted a 22-year-old woman after offering her a ride home early Wednesday morning.
Hillard said the officers allegedly picked up the young woman near Sheffield and Addison early Wednesday morning and at least one of them sexually assaulted her.
Hillard declined to discuss specifics of the case, but confirmed that the department has already taken administrative action against the officers, pending the outcome of a criminal investigation.
The officers were relieved of their powers Wednesday and placed on administrative duties. Both officers are 10-year veterans of the department.
They were arrested Wednesday after the woman accused them of the assault. The officers were taken to Belmont Area Headquarters for questioning, according to Hillard.
As of Thursday afternoon, no charges had been filed against the officers, Hillard said.
Chief of Detectives Thomas Byrne said investigators were still sorting through physical evidence in the case before making a decision on charges.
“At this point in time, it is an active ongoing criminal investigation,” Byrne said.
Police sources told CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot that the investigation stems from an incident where someone called 911 to report a woman needing help. The woman said she had been drinking with a male friend earlier in the night, got into an argument and walked out of his apartment.
The woman said she was walking on the street after midnight when two officers responded to the 911 call someone made for her, the source said. The officers, driving a marked police SUV, offered her a ride home, and she accepted.
At some point on the way to her apartment, the woman had sex in the SUV with one of the officers.
When police pulled up in front of her home, the woman and the two officers got out and went to her apartment, where they allegedly played strip poker, the source said.
At one point, one of the officers allegedly had sex with the woman in bed, the source said. She hit the wall with her hand to try to get attention of neighbor, the source said.
The woman said she was intimidated and afraid to say no to sex, according to the source.
Hillard said it would not make any difference how much the woman had to drink before the alleged assault.
“I’m not a lawyer, you know that. I’m just a street cop who just happened to come up through the organization. Whether she was drunk, that has nothing to do with the case. What they did – allegedly have done – was inappropriate, was against the law,” Hillard said.
At some point after the assault, the woman ran out of her apartment and banged on a neighbor’s door, then tried another door, screaming for them to call police. A neighbor came into hallway and called 911, the source said.
A neighbor, who wished to remain anonymous, said the victim knocked on his door asking for help.
“I heard knocking and then a yell for help,” he said. “She did ask for someone to call the police.”
Another neighbor allegedly saw one of the officers running down the hallway naked and, when that person went to check on the victim, he discovered other the officer, the source said. The officer was dressing in what appeared to be blue police uniform shirt, pants, and duty belt, and then he left the scene, the source said.
Responding officers discovered a blue flip cell phone at the scene, and the victim said it belonged to one of the officers who had been in her apartment, the source said.
The source tells Le Mignot the officers were caught on a surveillance camera in police uniforms buying alcohol after they picked the woman up.
Found at the scene were mock turtleneck collars with the letters CPD embroidered on them, the cell phone, and a police belt-keeper, the source said.
Hillard would not confirm what evidence had been recovered from the scene, citing the ongoing investigation.
“I’m not going to divulge specifics about evidentiary items that may have been recovered,” Hillard said.
The officers were from the Town Hall District, which is headquartered at 850 W. Addison St. and includes most of the Uptown and East Lakeview neighborhoods, the source said. But the area where the officers allegedly picked up the woman is in the Rogers Park District, two police districts away.
The source tells Le Mignot a supervisor is also being questioned, since no supervisor checked on the officers for more than an hour while they were on the call.
“Thousands of officers work long and hard hours day after day, night after night, proud to be members of this profession and proud to serve the residents of the city of Chicago,” Hillard said. “Our officers are dedicated to strengthening the relationship with the public and will not stand for anyone eroding that trust that they work hard to establish.”
Mike Shields, incoming president of the Fraternal Order of Police, said he hopes the incident does not unfairly besmirch hard-working officers or discourage Chicagoans from seeking their help.
“Hundreds of times a day, citizens are assisted by the Chicago Police Department. That includes driving victims, the elderly and females. I just hope citizens can understand that this is, without question, an isolated incident out of hundreds of times we assist people,” Shields said.