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CPD officers in drug arrest involving Internal Affairs chief’s car and niece put on desk duty

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Update: Chicago police superintendent David Brown admitted that he put two officers on desk duty following a drug arrest that involved an Internal Affairs chief’s car and her niece.

At a press conference Brown declined to answer questions about why the niece wasn’t arrested and the car impounded after a passenger was caught throwing 84 bags of heroin out of the window.

During the incident, the niece shouted at the officers, “my auntie is a police officer too,” and “my auntie is probably your boss.”

CPD has referred the incident to the Office of the Inspector General for investigation.

Earlier:

Annie Sweeney

Chicago Tribune

The city agency that tracks and investigates police misconduct was notified within a day by a high-ranking member of the Chicago Police Department’s command staff that the niece of its chief of internal affairs was driving the chief’s car when it was stopped during a drug arrest earlier this month.

The notification to the Civilian Office of Police Accountability was documented in public records that were returned to the Tribune on Friday as part of an open records request.

The Feb. 1 drug arrest involving the niece and a vehicle belonging to Internal Affairs chief Yolanda Talley wasn’t immediately publicly disclosed by the department, which also has not detailed what role Talley played in making any report.

There was widespread speculation about the case over the past week after details were leaked to the media, with both Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Police superintendent David Brown forced to publicly address the incident.

On Thursday Brown said at an unrelated news conference that the department reported the matter for an investigation immediately and said there was “no evidence of any misconduct by Chief Talley.”

“Soon as we heard about the incident, we immediately forwarded the circumstances to the inspector general,” Brown said.

Talley, who was not present at the time of the arrest, remains in her position.

The investigation into the arrest is ongoing, but late Friday COPA released documents to the Tribune that shed additional light on how the department reported the case to COPA.

Included in the documents is a letter dated Feb. 2 that COPA officials addressed to the city Inspector General’s office. The letter referred the matter to that office for an investigation.

The letter sought consideration of the situation and “any action you deem appropriate, the complaint and attached materials received by the Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA). The complainant includes alleged misconduct outside of COPA’s jurisdiction for OIG review,” the letter states.

Also included in the return to the Tribune under the Freedom of Information Act is a COPA intake sheet that lists Talley as the accused member of the incident under investigation, states that it was “initiated” by the department and includes a brief description of the incident.

“CPD initiated. It is reported that the accused officer’s vehicle was being driven by her niece when the niece was stopped and arrested by narcotics CPD officers for a drug related charge,” reads the document. “Waiting on initiation report to finalize more accurate details.”

Chief Ernest Cato, who heads the Counterterrorism Bureau and oversees the narcotics division, is listed as the “reporting party” and “third party.”

The undated intake sheet provided a preliminary description of the incident, noting that more details were forthcoming. And while Talley’s niece is described as having been arrested, sources have told the Tribune that she was not.

While COPA is the official body for complaints against officers, it investigates mainly use of force incidents involving officers. The office Talley heads, internal affairs, also handles misconduct allegations, but her office would not have been able to investigate this incident.

The inspector general’s office last week confirmed the referral of a complaint the day after the incident, which happened in the East Garfield Park neighborhood. That office does not comment on ongoing investigations.

According to police reports of the arrest, narcotics officers patrolling the area near Drake and Chicago avenues on Feb. 1 saw 34-year-old Kenneth Miles bend down to pick up a multicolored bag near a black Mitsubishi SUV, according to a police report. Miles then walked over to a silver Lexus and got in.

The Lexus drove away, eventually turning into an alley, and an officer activated the squad car’s lights and followed, the report said. Miles then allegedly threw the bag out the open passenger window.

Officers found that the bag had 84 individual pink-tinted baggies with heroin inside, the police report said. Miles was arrested at 11:25 a.m. in the 500 block of North St. Louis Avenue, records show.

©2022 Chicago Tribune. Visit chicagotribune.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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