Chicago Cops Turned Off Dashcam, Threatened, Falsely Arrested Misconduct Investigator: Lawsuit

Oopsie! Chicago police were recently busted doing what cops seem to do best these days — brutalizing a motorist, falsely arresting him, and turning off the dashcam to do so — but this time, their victim was the last sort of person they would want to victimize.

George Roberts, an African-American investigator for the Independent Police Review Authority, which is responsible for reviewing police misconduct allegations, police shootings, and other police corruption in the city of Chicago, filed a lawsuit last week accusing cops of exactly the sort of thing he is responsible for investigating.

Roberts says that on January 1, he was not only falsely arrested — but threatened with a gun and violently slammed to the ground, causing him to sh*t himself. Roberts, a supervising investigator with the IPRA, was pulled over while driving his car a block from his home. Though he was stopped for a minor traffic violation, officers drew their guns and demanded he step out of the vehicle. He was then thrown to the ground as one cop screamed, “Don’t make me f*cking shoot you.”

“The aforementioned conduct was wholly unnecessary and unreasonable, as [Roberts] was not threatening, resisting or otherwise failing to comply with the [officers’] orders at this point or at any point during the stop,” the lawsuit says. Roberts says that officers realized he worked for the IPRA while searching through his wallet, and one of them “ran back to his vehicle and turned off his vehicle’s video recording equipment,” to cover up their activities.

Police say that Roberts admitted to having two drinks before driving home from a bar on New Years Day, and that he refused to submit to a field sobriety test — which is his right under Illinois law, and there is no legal penalty for refusing these tests, which are known to be “subjective and unreliable.” He says he refused the tests because he didn’t feel that officers were following proper procedures.

“When the (officers) turned off the dash camera, things got worse” for the misconduct investigator, the suit claims. Roberts was handcuffed and thrown in the back of a squad car. He says that he “pleaded” with police to loosen the cuffs, which were painfully tight as Roberts is a larger gentleman, but one of the officers  leaned into the squad car and mocked the man with the last words of Eric Garner, who was murdered by police in New York City over alleged sales of loose cigarettes:

“What are you going to tell me next, you can’t breathe?”

Police claim that Roberts “soiled himself” in the back of the squad car, but according to the lawsuit this happened when he was thrown  “to the ground so violently he lost control of his bowels.”

Roberts was placed in a holding cell and demanded to speak to a supervisor, but was not permitted to do so. At one point in the night, he says, an officer wearing a white shirt “believed to be a supervisor … did look into (Roberts’) cell, laugh at him, and then walk away.” Roberts “remained in his soiled clothes overnight,” according to the complaint.

Though the police report did not indicate that the arrest was captured on film, footage of Roberts driving was “captured on the dashboard camera.” Police did not inform prosecutors that they had switched off the camera until Roberts’ attorney figured it out for himself, according to the lawsuit, which names the police department, six officers, and an unnamed officer as defendants.

Roberts was suspended from his $93,000 a year job following his arrest, but returned to work when he was found (gasp!) not guilty of the DUI charge. Another citation was dropped.

You can read Roberts’ complaint, below:

  George Roberts Complaint by C. Robert Gibson

Featured image via Chicago Sun-Times