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Kelly v. Police Bd. of Chicago

JANUARY 10, 1975.

THOMAS T. KELLY, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,

v.

THE POLICE BOARD OF THE CITY OF CHICAGO ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. EDWARD F. HEALY, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE SULLIVAN DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

This is an appeal from an order of the circuit court sustaining a finding of cause for dismissal by the Police Board of the City of Chicago (Board) against the plaintiff, for violating Rules 2 and 6 of the department. On appeal, plaintiff contends (1) the written charges fail to state sufficient cause for discharge; and (2) the decision of the Board is not supported by substantial evidence appearing in the record.

Administrative hearings were held before a hearing officer appointed by the Board. The Board then reviewed the transcript of those hearings and found at point 7 of its "Findings and Decisions":

"The Respondent as charged herein, contrary to the Rules and Regulations of the Department of Police, is guilty of violating Rule 2, `Any action or conduct which impedes the Department's efforts to achieve its goals, or brings discredit upon the Department', in that on July 11, 1972 he was apprehended by the River Grove Police Department at the scene of a burglary and was subsequently charged with Burglary and Theft."

While points 8 and 9 of the "Findings and Decisions" relate to violations of Rule 6, the Board concedes that the evidence is insufficient to sustain those charges. The Board justifies its action discharging plaintiff solely on the violation of Rule 2. Relative thereto, the following evidence was adduced at the administrative hearing.

Patrick Ryndak, a River Grove police officer, testified that in the early morning of July 11, 1972, he was on routine patrol in the area of a shopping center at Cumberland and Belmont in River Grove. The center comprises six or seven connected stores, including Cosmo's, a men's clothing store. There is an apartment complex and parking lot immediately behind the shopping center. In that parking lot, Officer Ryndak noticed a motorcycle which had no license plates or vehicle sticker. As he was examining the vehicle he heard a sound coming from the front of the shopping center. He went to the front and observed plaintiff in a crouched position near the window of Cosmo's. As he approached, plaintiff stood up, and at the same time the officer observed an Army duffel bag and a grey pair of pants on the sidewalk within 4 or 5 feet from the window and 2 or 3 feet from plaintiff. The duffel bag contained a white pair of pants and a suit coat, the latter having a label reading, "Cosmo's, For Men Who Are, River Grove, Illinois." The window of the store was broken, and there were broken glass, a hammer and a cane on the ground. However, Ryndak had not seen the plaintiff use the cane or the hammer.

As Ryndak placed plaintiff under arrest and searched him, plaintiff stated that he also was a police officer and was carrying a weapon.

Plaintiff was called as an adverse witness and stated his name, occupation and star number. When asked his whereabouts at approximately 4:30 A.M. on the morning of July 11, 1972, he refused to answer this and all subsequent questions relative to the incident on the grounds that his answers may tend to incriminate him.

Cosmo Laudadio, president of Cosmo's Menswear Inc., was called as a witness and testified that he was summoned by the police to his store on July 11, 1972. He assumed some articles were missing from the store because the window was broken and a mannequin was turned over. Later, at the police station, he identified the clothing found at the scene and stated that they had been displayed on mannequins in the store window. He does not, however, arrange displays at the store, and there could have been 12 to 15 suits and 100 pair of white pants in his store similar to those he identified at the station. Furthermore, he stated that labels are not taken off the clothing when they are sold.

Plaintiff was subsequently charged with burglary and theft, and the Police Board commenced its action to remove plaintiff from the department.

I.

Counsel for plaintiff argues that the written charges fail to state sufficient cause for discharge, i.e., that merely being found at the scene of a burglary and theft and being charged therewith are insufficient causes for dismissal.

• 1 Procedures for removal of police in cities of more than 500,000 population are controlled by statute (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1971, ch. 24, par. 10-1-18.1), which provides in relevant part that:

"In any municipality of more than 500,000 population, no officer * * * of the police department * * * may be removed or discharged * * * except for cause upon written charges and after an opportunity to be heard in ...


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