UCPD review backs decision

By LINDSAY WELBERS
Staff Writer

The Independent Review Committee (IRC) for the University of Chicago Police Department determined that the department was largely correct in the way it handled complaints against itself last year.

The IRC released its annual audit of the UCPD late last month. The IRC reviews complaints alleging excessive force, violation of rights, abusive language or dereliction of duty by the UCPD.

Of the 12 cases the IRC reviewed, it agreed with the way the department handled 11 of them. While a total of 19 complaints were filed in the 2012-13 academic year against the UCPD, seven of them fell outside of the IRC’s purview.

The sole complaint against UCPD that IRC disagreed with involved the case of a man who was accused of napping at the Reynolds Club when UCPD asked him to leave the building.

The situation escalated and the man was arrested. Chicago Police were called but the complainant asked for medical attention before they arrived. No medical attention was summoned.

Despite being handcuffed, the man called 911, emergency medical technicians pronounced the man fine and left the scene.

IRC agreed with the UCPD’s review that no excessive force was used. But it disagreed with the UCPD’s finding that the office was not “rude, unprofessional and aggressive during the arrest.” and that the officer’s superior did not need to take action.

In response, the IRC said the latter two points “require a finer parse” and “The IRC considers the failure to call for the medical attention the complainant requested (a violation of UCPD policy) to be unprofessional conduct.”

The IRC also notes that the accused officer admitted to having seen the complainant in the Reynolds Club many times and that it is not uncommon to nap in that building.

The IRC also noted two complaints in the initial account that UCPD failed to investigate. The complainant alleged the request to leave the building was based on his race and that the decision to arrest him was unjustified.

“The Committee stresses that citizen contacts such as this damage UCPD’s reputation,” according to the report.

l.welbers@hpherald.com