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Chicago Inspector General quarterly report documents misconduct by city employees

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CHICAGO (CBS) -- The Chicago Office of the Inspector General on Monday published its first quarterly report from the year – documenting several investigations into serious misconduct within city departments.

The report, which has been filed with the City Council, summarizes concluded city OIG investigations from Jan. 1 through March 31 of this year.

Read the full report

"OIG has continued to focus attention and resources on holding City actors accountable when they break the rules, with investigations into acts of serious misconduct of the sort which undermines public trust in government," Deborah Witzburg, Inspector General for the City of Chicago, said in a news release.

Among the highlights in the report is an investigation into a Chicago Police lieutenant who had worked in the Bureau of Internal Affairs accused of conducting an "untimely and incomplete" investigation into allegations that a sergeant from the bureau had sexually assaulted a member of the public while previously working as a district officer.

The lieutenant initially took steps to investigate the sexual assault allegations, but went on to do nothing with the case from October 2012 until May 2018, the report said. When the lieutenant finally interviewed the sergeant, the lieutenant asked "compound questions" that allowed the sergeant to avoid addressing the matter directly – and also failed to interview key witnesses, the report said.

The OIG has recommended that the lieutenant be fired from the Police Department, a recommendation to which the CPD has preliminarily agreed.

The report also documents a Department of Water Management custodial worker who illegally received funds from the pandemic-era federal Paycheck Protection Program to the tune of more than $40,000. The loans were received based on fraudulent claims to the IRS that the custodian earned at least $100,000 in revenue as the sole proprietor of a business, the report said.

The OIG also recommended that the Water Department employee be fired, to which the department has preliminarily agreed.

In a third investigation, several Chicago Police officers were found to have mishandled an incident in which an off-duty officer intimidated a rideshare vehicle driver with a gun. The off-duty officer unnecessarily displayed his gun while intoxicated in a rideshare vehicle, prompting the driver to pull over, get out of the car, and call for emergency responders, the OIG said.

A now-retired sergeant wrote a false report that minimized the extent of the officer's misdeeds – resulting in "unduly light discipline" for the officer, the OIG said. The OIG also learned another sergeant told officers to turn off their body cameras as soon as it was known the intoxicated person was a Chicago Police officer, the report said.

In another case, a division superintendent of the Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation threatened to use their power to "bring heat" against a neighboring family during a quarrel, the report said.

There were also seven other instances in which city employees were found to have committed misconduct, from a Department of Water Management assistant chief operating engineer threatening employees of a city contractor to a Chicago firefighter/paramedic campaigning for alderman in uniform.

The report also documented public safety investigations and updates on various city programs under monitoring.

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