CHICAGO - Pressed on whether a high-ranking police chief got favorable treatment, Chicago Police Supt. David Brown distanced himself from the case Thursday and said he "wasn’t on the scene" when someone decided not to impound the chief’s car when her niece and a boyfriend were stopped and heroin was found.
Cars are usually impounded during such arrests, so they can be searched for guns and drugs. That was not done when officers pulled over a Lexus belonging to internal affairs chief Yolanda Talley on Feb. 1.
Talley’s niece was driving the car, and a man in the passenger seat was charged with possession of 42 grams of heroin.
Officers drove the Lexus back to the block where the arrest took place, and the keys were returned to her niece, a source has said.
Brown said he hasn’t seen any evidence of misconduct, but he declined to answer questions, saying the matter was being investigated by the city’s inspector general.
Asked whether he or anyone in his command staff was involved in decisions that night, Brown replied, "Of course I wasn’t on the scene making any of these decisions."
"The officers made those decisions," he said. "And I have yet to see anything to show me that — I have mentioned in my comments that I will not go further on — that there was any misconduct."
Talley’s niece was stopped by officers in the 500 block of North St. Louis Avenue. Officers said they saw a passenger, Kenneth Miles, try to ditch 84 packets of heroin valued at $6,300.
Miles was arrested on drug charges. But Talley’s niece was let go because there wasn’t clear evidence linking her to the heroin, a police source said. Talley’s niece told the officers, "My auntie’s probably your boss," according to a source.
It’s unclear why Talley’s car was not impounded, which is usually what happens when police find a small or large quantity drugs in a vehicle.
It’s also unclear why the officers involved in the arrest were later taken off the street for training with no explanation. The source called the move an apparent "punishment."
During his news conference, Brown complained about the "gossip and innuendo" surrounding the case.
"I think even your profession has to give pause to rumor and innuendo before the facts are available," Brown told a Sun-Times reporter. "I mean, I’m sure you have opinions your question was based on, based on source’s opinions.
"But opinions are not facts," he added. "You’re entitled to your opinion about what may or may not have happened. But the facts will be revealed when this investigation is completed."
He said the investigation is being conducted by the inspector general because "we need an independent third party to look at all the facts so we can all have assurance that it was reviewed in an independent way by the inspector general."
"We’ll have further discussion once" the investigation is finished, he promised.
Contributing: Tom Schuba, Frank Main and Matthew Hendrickson