Chicago Police Department Moves To Fire Three Officers For Misconduct, Lying To Investigators

Chicago News

CHICAGO (CBS) — The Chicago Police Department has filed disciplinary charges seeking to fire an officer for punching a handcuffed suspect in 2014 and lying about it, and two other officers for lying about why one of them opened fire on a vehicle in the West Lakeview neighborhood in 2015.

Police Supt. David Brown agreed with a Civilian Office of Police Accountability report recommending Officer Clauzell Gause be fired after he shoved Rayshon Gartley into a wall and punched him while he had his hands cuffed behind his back at Jackson Park Hospital on June 3, 2014, all without justification.

COPA also determined Gause lied about striking Gartley during their investigation, claiming his punch didn’t connect, even though surveillance video of the incident shows Gartley’s head snapping back. Investigators also noted the video does not show Gartley resisting or trying to kick or headbutt Gause as the officer had claimed.

Gause had claimed he shoved Gartley into the wall as a “stunning technique” so he could remove the handcuffs to allow hospital staff to sedate Gartley. COPA, however, ruled there was no justification for shoving or punching Gartley, noting he was handcuffed at the time, and Gause and his partner “seemed to have a fairly firm control of the situation.”

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According to the COPA report, police had transported Gartley to Jackson Park Hospital because he was having a “mental health episode” after getting into an altercation with family members.

Cook County prosecutors charged Gause with felony official misconduct in 2016, but the charges were dismissed last year, after the victim failed to appear in court.

Brown filed disciplinary charges with the Chicago Police Board last month, seeking to fire Gause for striking Gartley without justification and for making false statements to COPA.

In a separate case, Brown is also seeking to fire Officer Laura Kuhlmann and Officer Carol Weingart, after COPA determined they lied to investigators about the reason Kuhlman shot at Giovanni Valle’s car in West Lakeview on Dec. 29, 2015.

Kuhlmann opened fire on Valle’s moving vehicle while other civilians were present, in violation of department policy, according to COPA. She and Weingart then lied about why she fired the shots, investigators ruled.

The officers were responding to reports of a battery in progress, and approached a car matching the suspect’s description on the 3000 block of North Clybourn Avenue. The officers claimed the driver ignored their commands and tried to strike Weingart as he drove off, prompting Kuhlmann to open fire.

However, COPA said surveillance video of the incident showed Weingart was standing near her own squad car at the time, not next to the suspect’s vehicle as she claimed. Other witnesses also told COPA that the driver did not try to strike Weingart when Kuhlmann fired.

Brown filed disciplinary charges with the Chicago Police Board last week, seeking to fire Kuhlmann for firing her weapon at a moving vehicle without justification, and for lying about why she did. He’s seeking to fire Weingart for lying about the incident.

According to the COPA report, the evidence in the case clearly showed the two officers colluded to come up with a false justification for why Kuhlmann fired her weapon.

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