The Crusader Newspaper Group

Lorenzo Davis awarded $2.8M after IPRA fired him for refusing to change his findings

Crusader staff report

Lorenzo Davis, the former supervisor of a police oversight agency that fired him after he refused to change his findings about police misconduct, was awarded $2.8 million by a Cook County jury on Thursday, June 21.

Jurors took less than an hour before reaching the decision that vindicated Davis, who sued the defunct Independent Police Review Authority in 2015. Davis, a retired Chicago Police commander accused his boss, former IPRA Chief Scott Ando of firing him after Davis found that a Chicago police office was not justified in shooting Cedric Chatham in 2013. Davis filed a federal lawsuit in 2015, saying his findings in other cases where he said officers were unjustified in shootings contributed to his termination.

Reports say out of 400 cases of police IPRA handled, only two of them were found to be unjustified.

Ando was forced to resign months later after a video emerged showing Officer Jason Van Dyke shooting Laquan McDonald 16 times.

Davis faced a tough legal battle in court. His original federal lawsuit was dismissed when a judge ruled that his finding was not protected under the First Amendment.  Davis’ lawyer refiled the complaint in Cook County Circuit Court.

Torreya Hamilton, one of Davis’ lawyers, said her client was “thrown out and treated like garbage” from IPRA for trying to the right thing.

“He devoted essentially his entire adult life to being a public servant of this city and this is how the city has treated him. Those 12 jurors saw through the lies of the city witnesses in less than an hour.”

In court, Davis’s attorney Torreya Hamilton established that he had earned favorable performance reviews in past years, and that he had actually sided with police officers’ versions of events in over 87 percent of the cases his team investigated.

In Court Ando said he waited until after Mayor Rahm Emanuel was reelected in 2015 before he decided to fire Davis.  He said the mayor in a cabinet meeting said “I better not get any surprises from any of you.”

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