CHICAGO (CBS)–The Lightfoot administration is going to court today to try to stop hundreds of police misconduct records from being released.
CBS 2’s Mugo Odigwe explains the critical nature of the kind of information city lawyers are trying to keep under wraps.READ MORE: Woman Shot, Wounded On North Avenue On Cusp Of Humboldt Park, Logan Square
This really has to do with one man’s fight to clear his name. Charles Green requested public records as part of his fight to clear his name, but the city ignored his request.
“The city’s commitment to transparency over its police accountability systems is not real. It is fake,” said Jared Kosoglad, Green’s lawyer.
He was released from prison in 2009 after a judge ruled critical victim testimony was not allowed at his trial. Green’s fight to prove his innocence included filing a Freedom of Information Act request, or FOIA, for all Chicago Police misconduct records in cases that have been closed dating back to 1967. Green then sued for the records after the city failed to respond to that FOIA, as required by law.
Earlier this year, a Cook County Judge ruled the city had “willfully and intentionally failed to comply” with FOIA requirements, and ordered the city to turn over all the files Green had requested by the end of 2020. The city already has turned over misconduct files dating back to 2011.
Last summer, city lawyers offered Green a $500,000 payout in exchange for giving up his right to those misconduct files.READ MORE: At Least 2 Killed, 17 Wounded In Weekend Shootings In Chicago
“They were trying to pay Mr. Green a half a million dollars to go away,” Kosoglad said.
But the proposed settlement stalled as aldermen pushed to create a public database to provide access to decades of misconduct records. However, that ordinance has languished for nearly seven months without a vote.
Instead, today lawyers for the city will ask an Illinois Appellate Court judge to reverse a lower court’s decision and allow decades of police misconduct records to remain sealed.
When asked about the case, Lightfoot said several years of those records have already been released.
“We’re continuing to work on a process to go back even further. So there’s no lack of transparency,” she said.MORE NEWS: Chicago Weather: Storms Coming Sunday
City attorneys have told aldermen it would take 10 years and cost $10 million to release all of the misconduct files Green has been seeking.