COPA employee charged with making false threat of mass shooting

Alison Yohanna | Chicago police arrest photo

An employee of the Civilian Office of Police Accountability has been charged with sending a phony shooting threat to the oversight agency’s West Town office.

Alison Yohanna, 35, was charged with official misconduct and disorderly conduct for falsely reporting an offense, Chicago police announced on Saturday.

She was ordered held on $10,000 bail during a Saturday court hearing, according to the Cook County state’s attorney’s office.

She posted bond and was released the same day, according to the Cook County sheriff’s office. Her next court date was set for Jan. 10.

Yohanna allegedly sent an email about 9 a.m. Dec. 28 to the city inspector general’s office claiming that another COPA employee would be carrying out a mass shooting at the COPA office in the 1600 block of West Chicago, police said.

Yohanna wrote in the email that one of her coworker carries firearms and would commit a mass shooting, starting at the intake room of the COPA offices, Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney Rachel Mabbott said on Sunday.

In the email, Yohanna identified another coworker who had information about the plot, Mabbott said.

Within an hour of the email being sent, the inspector general’s office contacted police, and a SWAT team responded at 10 a.m. to the COPA offices, Mabbott said.

Investigators spoke with the two people mentioned in the email and found the shooting threat to be false, Mabbott said. Investigators then spoke with Yohanna, and were able to track the IP address of the email back to her work station, Mabbott said.

Yohanna reportedly sent the email out of an “abundance of caution,” her attorney, Robert Pervan, reportedly said.

Yohanna had been working as an investigator with COPA, and was reassigned in mid-December due to an investigation by the inspector general’s office, of which she was the subject, Mabbott said. Details about that investigation were not released.

Yohanna, who lives in the Buena Park neighborhood on the North Side, turned herself into police on Thursday, police said.

“COPA takes all violations of law seriously,” COPA Chief Administrator Sydney Roberts said in a statement. “The waste of City resources in response to a false threat, the unnecessary alarm to our staff, other building occupants and the larger Chicago community was egregious.

“COPA staff members are held accountable for their actions, and we appreciate CPD’s prompt and professional work in assessing and investigating the anonymous threat.”

Ephraim Eaddy, a COPA spokesman, noted Yohanna has been working for the office for more than a year as an investigator and has been placed on leave.