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NCJ Number: 128439 Find in a Library
Title: Evidence in Investigations of Police Use of Excessive Force in Chicago
Author(s): W A Kerstetter; B Van Winkle
Date Published: 1989
Page Count: 30
Sponsoring Agency: American Bar Foundation
Chicago, IL 60611
Type: Research (Applied/Empirical)
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper describes and discusses investigations of police excessive-force complaints conducted by the Chicago Police Department's Office of Professional Standards (OPS) with a focus on the interaction between various kinds of evidence and OPS's disposition recommendations, especially in the context of a high rate of "not-sustained" findings.
Abstract: The report initially describes the structure and operation of OPS and some situational and demographic characteristics of the study data. The study is based on data drawn from 273 excessive-force complaints against police (965 allegations of officer misconduct). The report discusses the results of two multivariate analyses of allegation outcomes that illustrate the importance of evidence in OPS recommendations. The report then explores the role of evidence in determining OPS recommendations. The disposition of 81 percent of the cases was "not sustained." Case characteristics limiting evidence largely contributed to such a result. Nearly half occurred at night; 40 percent had no witnesses other than the victim and the accused; of non-victim witnesses, only 28 percent were independent; negative evidence outweighed positive evidence in 51 percent of the allegations; and negative and positive evidence were equally balanced in 18 percent of the allegations. Fifty-one percent of allegations involving an independent witness were sustained, and 58 percent involving non-testimonial evidence corroborating the allegations were sustained. The OPS typically required testimony from independent witnesses to sustain allegations, so as to ensure to the police constituency that proceedings were fair. 10 tables, 2 references, and 22 notes
Main Term(s): Evidence; Lawful use of force
Index Term(s): Illinois; Professional conduct and ethics
Note: From the American Bar Foundation Working Paper Series, #9015.
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