Suit: IPRA investigator fired for refusing to change findings on police shootings

CHICAGO (STMW) - A former top investigator in Chicago’s Independent Police Review Authority has filed a federal lawsuit against the agency and the city, alleging he was fired after he refused to change his reports to more favorably reflect upon Chicago Police officers who shot civilians in six separate incidents.

Lorenzo Davis, 66, a former Chicago Police commander who was hired by IPRA in 2008 and prompted to supervisor in 2010, filed the lawsuit Thursday in U.S. District Court in Chicago against the city and two IPRA administrators, including Scott M. Ando, chief administrator.

In 2013, Ando signed a performance evaluation for Davis that gave him an overall rating of “excellent” and noted that he “completed several complex investigations” and “requires little supervision,” according to the suit.

Nonetheless, sometime between 2014 and 2015, Ando and another administrator began ordering Davis to change the findings in his investigative reports from sustained — meaning the allegation of misconduct was supported by sufficient evidence to justify disciplinary action — to not sustained, unfounded or exonerated, the suit alleges. The efforts to change the “sustained” findings or disciplinary recommendations directly contravened IPRA’s purpose and policies, violated public policy and also violated other laws and statutes, according to the suit.

But Davis refused to change his findings, and claims in the suit that he was “speaking out not only as an IPRA investigator, but also as a private citizen of the city of Chicago with an interest in fair, impartial and thorough investigations into officer-involved shootings.”

Davis claims in the suit that he was “not only protecting the integrity of his investigations, but he was protecting the public interest and the private interests of himself and his family as residents of the city of Chicago.”

The suit alleges Davis continued to refuse to change his finding even when Ando threatened to fire him and subsequently his administrators asked Davis to send them copies of his reports in a Microsoft Word document, so that they could alter the documents themselves.

In April 2015, Ando again ordered Davis to change his “sustained” findings on a fatal police-involved shooting case and, as a result of his refusal, Davis was fired in July 2015, the suit claims.

The four-count suit claims retaliatory discharge and violation of the Illinois Whistleblower Act, among other things. Davis is seeking an undisclosed amount in damages.

A spokesman from IPRA did not comment on the lawsuit Thursday.