CHICAGO (CBS) — A former investigator who was fired from the city agency that investigates shootings by Chicago police officers has been awarded $1.1 million in damages, after he sued the city over his dismissal.
WBEZ reports a Cook County jury awarded Lorenzo Davis, a former supervising investigator at the Independent Police Review Authority — now the Civilian Office of Police Accountability — $1.1 million in damages for emotional distress.READ MORE: Mayor Lori Lightfoot Backs Declaring Juneteenth An Official City Holiday Starting Next Year
Davis was fired from his post at IPRA in 2015, and he later filed a whistleblower lawsuit accusing the city of dismissing him for refusing to change his findings in six shootings he deemed were not justified.
“I have done interviews or canvasses,” he said days after he was fired. “I’ve looked for witnesses.”
He concluded all six officers were unjustified in pulling their triggers.
“You cannot shoot someone because they did not obey your order,” Davis said at the time.
Davis, a former Chicago Police commander, said he received good reviews until 2014, when bosses concluded he had “a clear bias against the police.”
“Morally, I cannot change if,” he said. “Morally, I can’t do it. “READ MORE: Child Tax Credit: How Much Will Your Monthly Check Be?
Ironically, when IPRA was created in 2007, it was in response to accusations that the old board (the Office of Professional Standards), which was controlled by CPD, was unfair to citizens. Davis said IPRA was no better.
At the time, IPRA had investigated more than 400 shootings by CPD officers since the agency was created, and had deemed only one shooting unjustified.
“To me they have a hidden agenda, one that I don’t know about, to decide that virtually all police shootings are justified,” Davis said. “That logically cannot be.”
IPRA was later replaced by COPA in 2017, amid complaints the Independent Police Review Authority was ineffective and didn’t properly investigate police misconduct, or punish officers for wrongdoing — in particular the agency’s handling of the investigation into the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.
McDonald was shot and killed by Police Officer Jason Van Dyke as the teenager appeared to be walking away from the officer. Van Dyke was convicted of second-degree murder in October 2019 and is serving a prison sentence of more than 6 years.
As for Davis’ lawsuit, a jury in 2018 awarded him $2.8 million — $2 million in emotional distress and $800,000 in lost wages. A judge later reduced the lost wages verdict to $751,470, which the city did not contest, and an appeals court later reduced the emotional distress damages to $100,000.MORE NEWS: Decision Delayed Again On Mental Health Treatment In Jail For Serial Stowaway Marilyn Hartman
Davis opted for a new trial on the emotional distress damages, resulting in Friday’s verdict.