Today 28 aldermen filed a motion before Judge Lefkow seeking access to “certain Chicago Police Department documents.” At issue are the documents Judge Lefkow ruled are public in her July 2 opinion. The City has appealed that ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals. The aldermen argue that Corporation Counsel Mara Georges, contrary to her representations to several courts, has “wrongfully withheld” the documents from them.
The following aldermen—a majority of the City Council—joined the motion: Toni Preckwinkle, Manuel Flores, Robert Fioretti, Pat Dowell, Leslie Hairston, Freddrenna Lyle, Sandi Jackson, Michelle Harris, Anthony Beale, Toni Foulkes, Joann Thompson, Latasha Thomas, Lona Lane, Willie Cochran, Howard Brookins Jr., Ricard Munoz, Sharon Denise Dixon, Billy Ocasio, Walter Burnett, Jr., Ed Smith, Scott Waguespack, Carrie Austin, Rey Colon, Emma Mitts, Brendan Reilly, Thomas M. Tunney, Helen Shiller, and Joseph A. Moore.
They are represented by Matthew Piers, Judson Miner, and Clyde Murphy. Miner and Piers were respectively Corporation Counsel and Deputy Corporation Counsel in Harold Washington’s administration. Murphy is Executive Director of the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.
As I have reported elsewhere, the City, in seeking a stay of Judge Lefkow’s order, repeatedly argued that any harm to First Amendment values would be mitigated because the City Law Office would provide the documents to “any City Council member who requests them. ”Having secured the stay, Corporation Counsel Georges refused Alderman Preckwinkle’s request for the documents on the ground that an appeal is pending.
The aldermen argue:
The Corporation Counsel should not be allowed to make representations to three courts, obtain relief based on those representations, and then fail to act in accordance with the representations.
They ask Judge Lefkow to direct the Corporation Counsel to provide them with the documents.They also ask that she modify the protective order, in order to allow plaintiff’s counsel to provide them with the documents.
The aldermen will appear before Judge Lefkow on Thursday, October 25, to present the motion.
Here is a selection of media coverage of the controversy over aldermanic access to the CPD documents:
- 10-19-07 “Aldermen: Daley needs to give up names of cops” by Fran Spielman in the Chicago Sun-Times.
- 10-19-07 “28 aldermen demand names of officers accused of excessive force” by Gary Washburn in the Chicago Tribune.
- 10-19-07 “Hidden from public view” by Jennifer Chen, Kimbriell Kelly and Jeff Kelly Lowenstein in the Chicago Reporter.
- 10-19-07 “Stop hiding names in cop complaints,” editorial in the Chicago Sun-Times.
- 10-19-07 “Aldermen want names of cops accused of brutality,” a report by Andy Shaw on ABC 7 News.
- 10-3-07 “City withholds list of accused police” by David Heinzmann and Gary Washburn in the Chicago Tribune.