In an Associated Press review, the AP revealed instances where city lawyers were concealing evidence, delaying their disclosure, or otherwise subverting evidence in cities such as New York, Baltimore, Denver, and Spokane, according to the Joplin Globe.
For example, Shaun Mouzon was injured in Baltimore in 2013 after officers said he tried to run them over. The civil rights attorney in Baltimore, A. Dwight Pettit, said that he had to fight for everything they got, referencing the challenge in obtaining evidence from the bureaucratic city lawyers. He complained that it took them a year to produce the video that showed his client stuck in traffic, not stepping on the gas.
Attorney Jared Kosoglad has been involved in many cases involving police brutality. He has litigated more than 100 cases against the city of Chicago. He talked about a case he has been working on for eight years, Martinez vs. The City of Chicago. “In that case we dealt with destroyed evidence on a routine basis,” Kosoglad said in our interview with him about bureaucrats concealing evidence.
In that case, the judge ordered certain records to be produced that were destroyed by the city. In the civil case, the city was sanctioned for not producing evidence. Kosoglad accused them of hiding and possibly destroying evidence. He subpoenaed a file, and was told the file was not in the city’s hands. When two of his plaintiffs were arrested, he subpoenaed the file the same day. The file was supposedly shredded, but he did not believe them. “We uncovered a widespread destroying of evidence,” he said.
Anita Alvarez was the state’s attorney in Illinois from 2008 to 2016. When a judge ordered release of the Laquan McDonald shooting video, Alvarez was called to resign for waiting 13 months to prosecute the officer Jason Van Dyke. She had received the video two weeks after the shooting. It showed the officer shooting McDonald 16 times as he walked away. Three of the shots hit McDonald when he lay motionless on the ground. This conflicted with police reports of the incident. This is probably the most famous case of concealing evidence of police misconduct in Chicago. Alvarez refused to resign, and then was ousted by her opponent Kim Foxx. This campaign to oust Alvarez represented a new tactic of activists trying to get somebody out of office, rather than trying to get somebody elected to office.
Kosoglad said that the city was destroying evidence on conclusion of the case. He could not look back on evidence because it was being destroyed. After months of fighting, Kosoglad and his colleagues were able to go in and look for the files themselves and found them in about fifteen minutes. “They feel they’re above the law,” Kosoglad said. “It’s just like this string of hiding evidence, destroying videos of police misconduct, destroying audio. It’s been going on for years and nobody’s paid any attention.”
Kosoglad claimed that he routinely sees this line of action happening. On the last day of evidence in his case, the defense performed a rouse as to whether the files existed or not. “There’s so much lying in the police department,” he said. “It’s horrific the way people are treated in the city. Police officers are like super citizens who are immune from the law.”
Many other similar cases exist in cities across the country.