A federal judge ordered Chicago to pay $62,500 for withholding records in a wrongful death lawsuit, marking the eighth time Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration has been sanctioned for failing to turn over potential evidence in a police misconduct case. U.S. District Judge Joan Gottschall said the city acted in “bad faith.”
A federal judge ordered the city of Chicago to pay $62,500 for withholding records in a wrongful death lawsuit, marking the eighth time Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration has been sanctioned for failing to turn over potential evidence in a police misconduct case, the Chicago Tribune reports. U.S. District Judge Joan Gottschall said the city acted in “bad faith” when it ignored a court order and made little effort to provide documents to the lawyer for the family of 20-year-old Divonte Young, who was shot and killed by an officer five years ago. A plainclothes officer fatally shot Young after authorities alleged Young opened fired on two people in 2012. Police never located a gun.“ The city is continuing to waste taxpayers’ money and the court’s time,” said attorney H. Candace Gorman, representing the Young family. “It’s ridiculous. The taxpayers are angry. The judges are angry. And the city just doesn’t get it.”
In the Young case, the judge repeatedly criticized the city for its approach to discovery, the legal process that allows the two sides in a lawsuit to uncover relevant facts through the exchange of documents, the taking of depositions and other disclosures. When the process breaks down, plaintiffs can find themselves at a disadvantage, their lawyers uncertain they are working with all of the evidence. Gorman sought documents from the Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA), the agency that then investigated all officer-involved shootings and other misconduct allegations. Gorman was initially told by a city Law Department attorney that he could not ask IPRA for the documents because the agency operated separately from the city. An IPRA official then refused to give Gorman the records and said she had to go through the city Law Department.