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Dwyer v. Police Board of City of Chicago

AUGUST 4, 1975.

WILLIAM DWYER, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,

v.

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



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. ARTHUR L. DUNNE, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE GOLDBERG DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

William Dwyer (plaintiff) was discharged from his position as captain on the Chicago Police Force by a decision of the Police Board of the city of Chicago. After administrative review, this decision was reversed by the circuit court and plaintiff was ordered restored to his former position. The Board prosecutes this appeal.

The Board urges that the fifth amendment privilege does not entitle a witness to commit perjury; and the decision of the Board was not contrary to the manifest weight of the evidence. In response plaintiff urges that the circuit court properly reversed the decision of the Board since the rules of the police department upon which this decision was based are unconstitutional and the findings and decision of the Board are not supported by substantial evidence.

The pertinent facts are not difficult. Plaintiff was appointed to the police department in September of 1953. Ten years later, he attained the rank of captain. Pursuant to subpoena, plaintiff appeared before the grand jury of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, in Chicago, on December 15, 1971. Plaintiff was asked where he was employed. He then invoked his constitutional privilege and declined to answer on ground of self-incrimination. The record also shows the following question by the United States Attorney and answer by plaintiff.

"Q. You don't even want to answer where you're presently employed; is that right?

A. No, sir."

On December 31, 1971, plaintiff executed written responses to a written interrogatory propounded by the Internal Affairs Division of the Police Department. In this interrogation, plaintiff was advised that the allegation had been made that he had failed to testify before the grand jury or failed to answer questions regarding performance of his official duties as a police officer so that he was therefore in violation of police rules and regulations. In responding, plaintiff stated, in pertinent part, that he did refuse to answer questions directed to him before the grand jury. He stated that he was asked his name and address and that he answered these questions. He further stated:

"They did not ask my rank or where I was employed or if I was a police officer, or where I was assigned."

Plaintiff further responded that he did not refuse to answer any questions relating to his conduct as a police officer of the city of Chicago but that he invoked his privilege against self-incrimination. On March 11, 1972, plaintiff was suspended from duty.

In due course, charges were filed before the Police Board alleging violation by plaintiff of these rules of the police department:

Rule 2 — Any action or conduct which impedes the Department's efforts to achieve its goals, or brings discredit upon the Department.

Rule 3 — Any failure to promote the Department's efforts to accomplish its goals.

Rule 13 — Making a false report, written or oral.

Rule 51 — Failing to give evidence before the Grand Jury, Coroner's Inquest, in court, or before any governmental administrative body, including the Police Board, when properly called upon to do so, or refusing to testify on the grounds that such testimony might incriminate the member, or refusing ...


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