North Chicago Police Chief On Leave Amid Excessive Force Allegations

Updated 01/03/12 – 9:14 p.m.

NORTH CHICAGO, Ill. (CBS) — A north suburban police chief has been placed on leave, in the wake of mounting allegations of excessive force by the department’s police officers.

CBS 2’s Kristyn Hartman reports that North Chicago Mayor Leon Rockingham placed Police Chief Mike Newsome on paid leave, pending the results of investigations into a number of cases.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bob Roberts reports

Rockingham had been under increasing pressure to do something about a series of allegations of excessive force.

The mayor said he is acting after reviewing 88 cases in which excessive force is alleged, over four years, including the Nov. 6 domestic battery arrest of Darrin Hanna, who died Nov. 13 of injuries sustained during his arrest.

Now other people are coming forward with their own stories and situations caught on tape, which they say illustrate the problem.

At Tuesday night’s city council meeting, some residents and a couple of aldermen asked why officers involved in questionable cases weren’t put on leave, just like the chief.

“Had it been your child, I guarantee you none of these police would be working right now,” Nancy Wilson Lucas said.

Rockingham still awaits the results of an Illinois state Police Public Integrity Unit investigation into Hanna’s death. But he has also retained retired State Police Lt. Col. Robert Johnson to review the Hanna case and five other cases in which brutality is alleged. He said Newsome’s future with the department will in large part depend on what is found.

Investigators area also looking into allegations from Chris Harper, who has said a North Chicago police officer, who was going to have his car towed for loud music, shocked him with a stun gun when Harper went to get his keys. Harper has said the officer used his stun gun unprovoked, but a police report said Harper struck the officer’s hands.

Also, surveillance video from a North Chicago police booking room shows an officer striking a suspect in custody. A police report said the man in custody used foul language.

Those cases and others have led to Newsome being placed on leave and to the department overhauling how it reviews excessive force allegations.

Rockingham had a message for North Chicago residents on Monday.

“I want them to know that I’m doing everything possible to make sure that we have good, qualified police officers handling the … streets of our community,” North Chicago Mayor Leon Rockingham said.

“It’s a step in the right direction and I can tell you this: he said that there’s six cases that’s just come forth? He hasn’t seen anything yet,” said Hanna’s cousin, Ralph Peterson.

Former Lake Forest Police Chief Michael Hoskins will run the department for now.

Two North Chicago aldermen immediately questioned Rockingham’s action.

Ald. Valerie DeVost said it is happening “too late.”

The head of the council’s police and fire committee, Ald. Charles January is not happy that the leave is paid. And he questions whether Hoskins can effectively run a department in a community so different from Lake Forest.

  • Afro

    These are all bull shiit if the criminals wouldn’t have done stupid shiit they wouldn’t have anything to worry about Cops in Chicago get fuked if they don’t and fuked harder if they do. If not for national interest I wouldn’t blame the whole force for walking out and saying fuk you Chicago

    • Pamala E.

      Whether they have done dumb things or not, the penalty for that is being detained and then arrested. They still get get due process, even in the city of North Chicago. Now Police Mike Newsome knows that too. It’s no secret that cameras are everywhere, even in police stations.

      • Afro

        Why are you so hell bent on protecting these criminals It’s obvious he was doing something to intimidate the police officer in the video. I do not believe that these cops are acting with out some sort of provocation and so what if they get roughed up a bit if they don’t like it or authority they should straighten their ass up. Now please stop defending these pukes that will be doing the S.O.S. as soon as they make bail and hit the street.

  • Tom

    Hey, Rockingham, you no good, gutless politician. If you are going to hold the chief responsible for the actions of his officers, than you need to be held responsible for the actions of the officers and the chief. So shag your sorry ass down to city hall and quit.

  • Pamala E.

    When police officers choose to strike offenders that are subdued and in custody, that act alone can jeopardize the original case. That is a problem when cases go to trial, ether before a jury or a bench trial. It gives criminals the upper hand, once they’re acquitted, that leaves the officer and the municipality they represent vulnerable to lawsuits and a big payday for a criminal.

  • Joe

    You people are so dumb….cops are citizens like us they have no right to use and abuse the power we citizens give them…I have seen cops use the power they have for abusing victims and harrass Latinos and blacks in thier own comunities. A police officer needs to due his duty and leave it for the courts for punishment. Cops need to know they enforce the law and are not the law and do as they please. It is not fair to taser a man just because they can when there is no threat. Being a cop is one of the safest jobs in the world only 5 cops actually die a year in the line of duty as oposed to alaskan fishermans or firefighters….You lazy pigs die more from heart attacks… Do something to help the community not harrass it your like a street gang with walkie talkies

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