A scandal is brewing, and city officials appear to be battening down the hatches. Tuesday, three city offices involved in the story, the mayor, the police department, and the Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA) all failed to respond to questions about it.
Let’s get you up to speed quickly.
Last week, news broke that a man with a long list of felony drug convictions was charged with felony heroin distribution after he allegedly threw $6,300 worth of heroin from a Lexus owned by CPD’s chief of internal affairs, Yolanda Talley.
Talley was not in the car. Her niece was driving it at the time.
When cops pulled the Lexus over, the niece told them, “My auntie’s probably your boss,” the Sun-Times reported last night. The man who allegedly threw the heroin from the car’s passenger seat is in a relationship with Talley’s niece, according to the report.
CWB reported exclusively on Monday that the man who allegedly threw the heroin from the car, Kenneth Miles, is identified in public records as the confidential police source whose bad information led to the wrongful raid of Anjanette Young’s home in February 2019. The city cut a $2.9 million settlement check to end litigation with Young just two months ago.
Our story also revealed that COPA’s public report about the botched raid exposed Miles as the informant by giving the date, time, and police district where the “John Doe” informant who sparked the Young raid had been arrested. Arrest records, including dates, times, and locations, are public information.
Miles’ CPD arrest report from that date includes a police supervisor’s note that he wanted to “John Doe” a search warrant hours before cops raided Young’s home, we reported.
Asked to confirm Miles’ involvement in the Young search warrant, a CPD spokesperson on Monday said, “To ensure the safety of all involved and to maintain the integrity of the ongoing investigation, CPD cannot and will not comment on whether someone is or is not a confidential source.”
The department has refused to answer any questions about the heroin arrest involving Talley’s car, saying the matter is under investigation by the city’s inspector general.
A problematic report
COPA’s exposure of a confidential police source is troubling. Also troubling is this: CWB found other information in COPA’s report that exposed other private citizens’ personal details. One of those additional exposures is particularly egregious.
We shared that specific example with COPA and the office of Mayor Lori Lightfoot in separate sets of emailed questions on Tuesday morning. We sent a third set of questions to the Chicago Police Department.
Neither the mayor’s office, COPA, nor CPD responded to our inquiries.
We sent the following questions to CPD’s top spokespersons, Don Terry and Tom Ahern, on Tuesday morning. They did not reply.
- What is Chief Talley’s current position and status with the Chicago Police Department?
- If she is still in position as chief of internal affairs: Why is it appropriate for the person in charge of internal investigations to remain in place while under investigation?
- Did COPA ask CPD to review the public Anjanette Young report before release to ensure that no compromising information was included? If so, who at CPD handled that review?
In a Tuesday morning email to Ephraim Eaddy, COPA’s public information officer, we provided examples of compromising information within the agency’s Anjanette Young report along with the following questions. Our inquiry noted that we were not asking COPA to confirm our previous reporting. The questions stand on their own. He did not reply.
- Who is responsible for preparing COPA reports for public release (redacting sensitive information, etc)? What is their training? Do they have law enforcement experience? Which COPA supervisors, managers, and executives signed off on the content of the publicly-released Anjanette Young report?
- Did COPA ask CPD to review the public Anjanette Young report before release to ensure that no compromising information was included? If not, why not? If so, who at CPD handled that review?
- Will COPA conduct a review of its report review system to ensure that sensitive information is not released to the public? Who will handle the review? What is the timetable for completion? Will a public report of findings be available? When? If no review will be conducted, why not?
Also on Tuesday morning, we sent examples of COPA’s compromised information and the following questions to Cesar Rodriguez, the mayor’s press secretary. Again, we noted that we were not asking the mayor’s office to confirm CWB’s reporting in any way. He did not reply.
- Did the mayor read COPA’s public report before it was released?
- Will the mayor order an investigation and/or review of COPA’s report review system to ensure that sensitive information is not released to the public? Who will handle that? What is the timetable for completion? Goals? If no such order will be made, why not?
- Why is it appropriate for the head of CPD internal affairs to remain in position while OIG is investigating her and the circumstances of the heroin arrest involving her vehicle?
- Did the city consider bringing in a non-city agency to handle the investigation of the arrest involving Talley’s vehicle? If not, why not? If so, why was that idea rejected? Will the mayor reconsider now?
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