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What does it take to get a cop fired?

Lack of access to criminal-justice-related information hinders the ability of public access to the actions of the criminal justice agencies and their agents. Few Chicagoans have heard of the...
Lack of access to criminal-justice-related information hinders the ability of public access to the actions of the criminal justice agencies and their agents. Few Chicagoans have heard of the Chicago Police Board, let alone have a working knowledge of how it operates. Yet this organization plays a significant role in the process of removing abusive officers from the city streets of Chicago. We have examples of the results of their work in the Cozzi case. To the Chicago Police Board it was not a "dismissible offense” to club to the head ten times a wheelchair-bound, handcuffed, elderly man. Chicago Police Officer Gerald Callahan has now joined the list of infamous officers accused of violent attacks resulting in their arrests. Callahan was arrested in Niles, Illinois, on suspicion of attacking a 61-year-old man in a bar. The reason that I am addressing this issue now is that the Chicago Justice Project has used the Illinois Freedom of Information Act to obtain documents from the Chicago Police Board. These documents were initially created when the CPD tried to fire Callahan back in 2006. In our FOI Center you will find copies of many relevant documents involved in the case in Adobe format (.pdf). In the following paragraphs you will find a detailed listing of the charges brought against Callahan by Chicago Police Superintendent, Phil Cline. The charges were part of the beauracratic process that is involved in trying to discipline and fire Chicago Police Officers. The process is, to a certain degree, "set in stone” through the collective bargaining process between the City of Chicago and the Fraternal Order of Police, the union representing the officers. If you want to know more about how the Chicago Police Board operates you can read a previous post on that subject or visit their web site.

In 2006 Superintendent Phil Cline charged Callahan with the following violations:

  • Rule 1: Violation of any law or ordinance
"On or about March 25, 2006, at approximately 2000 hours, while on duty at the Alternate Response Section, 2111 West Lexington, Police Officer Gerald W. Callahan threatened Sgt. Ray Young, Star Number 2013, with physical hamland/or lunged at Sgt. Young, thereby violating Chapter 720 ILCS 5/12-2( a), by committing the act of Aggravated Assault.”
Found Guilty!
  • Rule 2: Any action or conduct which impedes the Department's efforts to achieve its policy and goals or brings discredit upon the Department
"Count I: On or about March 7, 2004, at approximately 2315 hours, at 1718 South State Street, Chicago, Illinois, Police Officer Gerald Callahan threatened Police Officer Grant McGrane by stating, "I'm gonna dump your ass in the garbage can. I swear to God I will. I'll kill your ass," or words to that effect, thereby impeding the Department's efforts to achieve its policy and goals or bringing discredit upon the Department.” "Count II: On or about March 7, 2004, at approximately 2315 hours, at 1718 South State Street, Chicago, Illinois, Police Officer Gerald Callahan threatened Police Officer Christopher Krol by stating, "I'll kick your ass anytime and throw you in the garbage can," or words to that effect, thereby impeding the Department's efforts to achieve its policy and goals or bringing discredit upon the Department.” "Count III: On or about March 7, 2004, at approximately 2315 hours at 1718 South State Street, Chicago, Illinois, Police Officer Gerald Callahan, while in the presence of Police Officer Grant McGrane and/or Police Officer Christopher Krol, made threatening statements referring to Police Officer Timothy Fundarek by stating, "You can tell that rat motherfucker Fundarek that I swear on Ireland I will rip his fucking head off and piss down his fucking throat. I swear to God I'll kill the son of a bitch," or words to that effect, thereby impeding that Department's efforts to achieve its policy and goals or bringing discredit upon the Department.” "Count IV: On or about March 7, 2004, at approximately 2315 hours at 1718 South State Street, Chicago, Illinois, Police Officer Gerald Callahan, while in the presence of Police Officer Grant McGrane and/or Police Officer Christopher Krol, made threatening statements referring to Police Officer Mark Harmon by stating, ''I'm gonna kill his ass and dump him in the garbage can," or words to that effect, thereby impeding the Department's efforts to achieve its policy and goals or bringing discredit upon the Department.” "Count V: On or about March 25, 2006, at approximately 2000 hours,while on duty at the Altemate Response Section, 2111 West Lexington, Police Officer Gerald W. Callahan threatened Sgt. Ray Young, Star Number 2013, with physical harm and/or lunged at Sgt. Young, thereby impeding the Department's efforts to achieve its policy and goals or bringing discredit upon the Department” Found Guilty! "Count VI: On or about March 25, 2006, at approximately 2000 hours, while on duty at the Altemate Response Section, 2111 West Lexington, Police Officer Gerald W. Callahan threatened Sergeant Ray Young, Star Number 2013, by stating, "You are lucky he's here, or I would hurt you more," or words to that effect, thereby impeding the Department's efforts to achieve its policy and goals or bringing discredit upon the Department.” Found Guilty! "Count VII: On or about March 25, 2006, at approximately 2000 hours, while on duty at the Altemate Response Section, 2111 West Lexington, Police Officer Gerald Callahan repeatedly swore at and/or made derogatory statements to Sergeant Ray Young, Star Number 2013, thereby impeding the Department's efforts to achieve its policy and goals or bringing discredit upon the Department.” Found Guilty! "Count VIII: On or about March 25,2006, at approximately 2000 hours, while on duty at the Alternate Response Section, 2111 West Lexington, Police Officer Gerald Callahan repeatedly swore at and/or made derogatory statements to Lieutenant David Naleway, Star Number 367, thereby impeding the Department's efforts to achieve its policy and goals or bringing discredit upon the Department.” Found Guilty! "Count IX: On or about March 25,2006, at approximately 2000 hours, while on duty, at the Alternate Response Section, 2111 West Lexington, Police Officer Gerald Callahan refused to obey one or more direct orders given to him by Sergeant Terrance Cochran, Star Number 894, to submit to a breatha1yzer exam, thereby impeding the Department's efforts to achieve its policy and goals or bringing discredit upon the Department.” Found Guilty!
  • Rule 6: Disobedience of an order or directive, whether written or oral
"Count I: On or before March 7, 2004, Police Officer Gerald Callahan observed misconduct by Department members and failed to immediately notify a supervisor and/or prepare a written report, thereby violating General Order 93-03-02B.” "Count II: On or about March 25,2006, at approximately 2000 hours, while on duty, at the Alternate Response Section, 2111 West Lexington, Police Officer Gerald Callahan refused to obey one or more direct orders given to him by Sergeant Terrance Cochran, Star Number 894, to submit to a breathalyzer exam, thereby violating General Order 93-03-05B.” Found Guilty!
• Rule 7: Insubordination or disrespect toward a supervisory member on or off duty
"Count I: On or about March 25,2006, at approximately 2000 hours, while on duty at the Alternate Response Section, 2111 West Lexington, Police Officer Gerald W. Callahan was insubordinate and/or disrespectful towards Sergeant Ray Young, Star Number 2013,when he threatened Sgt. Young with physical harm and/or lunged at Sgt. Young. " Found Guilty! "Count II: On or about March 25, 2006, at approximately 2000 hours, while on duty at the Altemate Response Section, 2111 West Lexington, Police Officer Gerald W. Callahan was insubordinate and/or disrespectful towards Sergeant Ray Young, Star Number 201 J, by stating, "You are lucky he's here, or I would hurt you more," or words to that effect.” Found Guilty! "Count III: On or about March 25, 2006, at approximately 2000 hours, while on duty at the Alternate Response Section, 2111 West Lexington, Police Officer Gerald W. Callahan was insubordinate and/or disrespectful towards Sergeant Ray Young, Star Number 2013, by repeatedly swearing at and/or making derogatory statements to Sgt.Young.” Found Guilty! "Count IV: "On or about March 25, 2006, at approximately 2000 hours, while on duty at the Alternate Response Section, 2111 West Lexington, Police Officer Gerald W. Callahan was insubordinate and/or disrespectful towards Lieutenant David Naleway, Star Number 367, by repeatedly swearing at and/or making derogatory statements to Lt. Naleway.” Found Guilty! "Count V: On or about March 25, 2006, at approximately 2000 hours, while on duty at the Alternate Response Section, 2111 West Lexington, Police Officer Gerald W. Callahan was insubordinate and/or disrespectful towards Sergeant Terrance Cochran, Star Number 894, in that he refused to obey one or more direct orders given tohim by Sgt. Cochran to submit to a breathalyzer exam.” Found Guilty!
• Rule 8: Disrespect to or maltreatment of any person, while on or off duty
"Count I: On or about March 7, 2004, at approximately 2315 hours, at 1718 South State Street, Chicago, Illinois, Police Officer Gerald Callahan disrespected and/or maltreated Police Officer Grant McGrane by stating, "You're a rat motherfucker," or words to that effect.” "Count II: On or about March 7, 2004, at approximately 2315 hours, at 1718 South State Street, Chicago, Illinois, Police Officer Gerald Callahan disrespected and/or maltreated Police Officer Grant McGrane by stating, "I'm gonna dump your ass in the garbage can.I swear to God I will. I'll kill your ass," or words to that effect.” "Count III: On or about March 7, 2004, at approximately 2315 hours, at 1718 South State Street, Chicago, Illinois, Police Officer Gerald Callahan disrespected and/or maltreated Police Officer Christopher Krol by stating, "You're a rat motherfucker," or words to that effect.” "Count IV: On or about March 7, 2004, at approximately 2315 hours, at 1718 South State Street, Chicago, Illinois, Police Officer Gerald Callahan disrespected and/or maltreated Police Officer Clu1stopher Krol by stating, "I'll kick your ass anytime and throw you in the garbage can," or words to that effect. "Count V: On or about March 25,2006, at approximately 2000 hours, while on duty at the Alternate Response Section, 2111 West Lexington, Police Officer Gerald W. Callahan disrespected and/or maltreated Sergeant Ray Young, Star Number 2013, when he threatened Sgt.Young with physical harm and/or lunged at Sgt. Young.” Found Guilty! "Count VI: On or about March 25, 2006, at approximately 2000 hours, while on duty at the Alternate Response Section, 2111 West Lexington, Police Officer Gerald W. Callahan disrespected and/or maltreated Sergeant Ray Young, Star Number 2013, by stating, "You are lucky he's here, or I would hurt you more," or words to that effect.” Found Guilty! "Count VII: On or about March 25,2006, at approximately 2000 hours, while on duty at the Alternate Response Section, 2111 West Lexington, Police Officer Gerald W. Callahan disrespected and/or maltreated Sergeant Ray Young, Star Number 2013, by repeatedly swearing at and/or making derogatory statements to Sgt. Young.” Found Guilty! "Count VIII: On or about March 25,2006, at approximately 2000 hours, while on duty at the Alternate Response Section, 2111 West Lexington, Police Officer Gerald W. Callahan disrespected and/or maltreated Lieutenant David Naleway, Star Number 367, by repeatedly swearing at and/or making derogatory statements to Lt. Naleway.” Found Guilty!
  • Rule 9: Engaging in any unjustified verbal or physical alteration with any person while on or off duty.
"Count I: On or about March 7, 2004, at approximately 2315 hours, at 1718 South State Street, Chicago, Illinois, Police Officer Gerald Callahan stated to Police Officer Grant McGrane, "I'm gonua dump your ass in the garbage can. I swear to Goel I will. 1'11 kill your ass," or words to that effect, thereby engaging in an unjustified verbal altercation.” "Count II: On or about March 7, 2004, at approximately 2315 hours, at ] 718 South State Street, Chicago, Illinois, Police Officer Gerald Callahan stated to Police Officer Christopher Krol, "I'll kick your ass anytime and throw you in the garbage can," or words to that effect, thereby engaging in an unjustified verbal altercation.” "Count III: On or about March 25, 2006, at approximately 2000 hours, while on duty at the Alternate Response Section, 2111 West Lexington, Police Officer Gerald W. Callahan stated to Sergeant Ray Young, Star Number 2013, "You are lucky he's here, or I would hurt you more," or words to that effect, thereby engaging in an unjustified verbal altercation.” Found Guilty!
The question remains, how many charges would Callahan have to be guilty before the Police Board relieves Callahan of all of his duties?  One would think that Callahan's refusal to subject himself to the breathalyzer test, by itself, would suffice as a reason to relieve him of his duty as an officer of the Chicago Police Department. Of all of the violations listed here that Callahan was found guilty of, he was only suspended of his professional duty for approximately 22 weeks.. With the lack of access and media attention on the work of the Chicago Police Board we are left wondering how may other Callahans or Cozzis are still out there waiting to be exposed by hurting innocent people. The following is the tally of the votes cast by the Chicago Police Board in the Callahan case: Approved Decision • Vice President Scott J. Davis Partner, Mayer Brown LLP • Victor M. Gonzalez Executive Counsel, UniCare Health Plans • George M. Velcich Partner, Belgrade & O'Donnell PC • Arthur J. Smith Sr President, Art's Enterprises • Dr. William C. Kirkling Dentist, Private Practice Dissented from Decision: • President Demetrius E. Carney Partner, Perkins Coie LLP • Patricia C. Bobb President, Patricia C. Bobb & Associates • Rev. Johnny L. Miller Pastor, Mount Vernon Baptist Church
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