Another Illinois Citizen Charged for Recording Police

Sunday, January 23rd, 2011

The New York Times reports on the Illinois eavesdropping law, which allows for a felony charge and up to 15 years of prison for people who record police officers on the job. In addition to artist Christopher Drew—whom I’ve written about before and who goes to trial in April—the article finds another person currently being charged under the law. Tiawanda Moore, 20, goes to trial next month. She too could face 15 years in prison, in her case for using her Blackberry to record her conversation with internal affairs officers at Chicago PD about an alleged sexual assault by a police officer. Moore recorded her interview after feeling her initial attempt to report the incident wasn’t taken seriously.

On Aug. 18, Ms. Moore and her boyfriend went to Police Headquarters to file a complaint with Internal Affairs about the officer who had talked to her alone. Ms. Moore said the officer had fondled her and left his personal telephone number, which she handed over to the investigators.

Ms. Moore said the investigators tried to talk her out of filing a complaint, saying the officer had a good record and that they could “guarantee” that he would not bother her again.

“They keep giving her the run-around, basically trying to discourage her from making a report,” Mr. Johnson said. “Finally, she decides to record them on her cellphone to show how they’re not helping her.”

The investigators discovered that she was recording them and she was arrested and charged with two counts of eavesdropping, Mr. Johnson said. But he added that the law contains a crucial exception. If citizens have “reasonable suspicion” that a crime is about to be committed against them, they may obtain evidence by recording it.

“I contend that the Internal Affairs investigators were committing the crime of official misconduct in preventing her from filing a complaint,” Mr. Johnson said. “She’s young. She had no idea what she was getting into when she went in there to make a simple complaint. It’s just a shame when the people watching the cops aren’t up to it.”

Days later, accompanied by Mr. Johnson, Ms. Moore returned to Internal Affairs and was able to file a full complaint. There is a continuing investigation of Ms. Moore’s charges against the officer, a Police Department spokesman said.

So five months later, they’re still investigating a possible sexual assault by a police officer. But they had no problem immediately arresting, charging, and jailing the woman who tried to report it. That would seem to send a pretty clear message about how seriously the city takes police misconduct.

There was another story in the news this week involving Chicago police. Former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge was sentenced to four-and-a-half years in prison for lying under oath. Burge was part of a Chicago police culture that tortured suspects in police custody for more than a decade. Burge and other officers who participated in the torture couldn’t be prosecuted for federal criminal civil rights violations because the statute of limitations has expired. The federal judge who sentenced Burge specifically criticized local officials for allowing the torture to continue long past the time they should have known about it, including Mayor Richard Daly for ignoring the problem during his time as a state’s attorney.

You’d think current Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez might take the time to learn something from history. There are still plenty of problems at Chicago PD that her office could be investigating. Instead, she wastes taxpayer resources prosecuting citizens for trying to protect themselves from cops, or for trying to hold cops accountable. Or, for that matter, trying to keep prosecutors accountable. Alvarez is also the one who has been harassing the journalism students at Northwestern University’s Innocence Project.

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37 Responses to “Another Illinois Citizen Charged for Recording Police”

  1. #1 |  Laura Victoria | 

    Sounds like an episode from “The Good Wife.” Conservatives need to start realizing that cops and not just teachers are union scum who typically endorse dems and whose numbers Obama padded in his misdirected stimulus efforts.

    The legislature’s feet must be held to the fire to overturn these antiquated eavesdropping laws. If they oppose the change, they need to be outted. Maybe Chicagoans are just to backwards and complacent.

    Hopefully the prison stint for this pig will have a happy ending before the 4.5 years is over.

  2. #2 |  Gerald A | 

    It’s the Chicago way. You’d think the local judges, politicians and cops were still bought and paid for by the …… uh, nevermind.

  3. #3 |  Laura Victoria | 

    I just read the linked articles. This DA proves what I have known for a long time: DAs offices are filled with affirmative action losers no better than whites on brutality issues. Brutality: It’s not just for black men anymore. Because many of these Chicanos (literally a mix of Chicago and Mexico) can’t cut it in the private legal sector, they populate DAs offices and judicial posts all over the country – particularly in the southwest.

    There are other pieces of trash like Alvarez in my state of Colorado whose job is to protect these scum from ever being prosecuted seriously or sentenced seriously. After Denver obtained the number one ranking in police abuse in 2010, a pathetic Chicano cop supervisor was finally canned. Her new name should be Wendy Scott Carr. Undoubtedly if she wins against Peter Florrick on The Good Wife, she’ll be more of the affirmative action debacle that will defend these loser pigs.

    By the way, Radley, you make a great and much needed point about how long these investigations take vs. pigs vs. how quickly they are made against civilians. They think if they stonewall long enough the public attention will be diverted from this crap and their taxpayer-funded vacations while the alleged “investigations” drag on and on.

  4. #4 |  delta | 

    Wow: Union-bashing, poor spelling, wishing for prison violence, and racism. I think Laura Victoria just scored the quadfecta.

  5. #5 |  The_Chef | 

    Hey Radley, you have any more info on this?

  6. #6 |  Joey Maloney | 

    Typo: That’s Mayor DalEy, with an ‘e’.

  7. #7 |  deadcenter | 

    So, in Illinois while you have the right to petition the government for the redress of grievances, it is illegal for anyone to obtain the evidence of said grievance if it involves an on-duty cop and an audio recording?

    Hypothetical; cop beating a citizen in the street is recorded by cell phone wielding citizen with audio recording turned off = admissible evidence, but the same situation with the audio recording turned on = felony and evidence not admissible?

    How does that make sense from a constitutional perspective?

  8. #8 |  pam | 

    Judge Lefkow sentencing Burge:
    •”How can one trust that justice will be served when the justice system has been so defiled?”

    Now we know what the justice system is worth, 4-1/2 years.

  9. #9 |  Tom Barkwell | 

    I find it difficult not to be a complete cynic regarding police and prosecutor ethics. It’s gotten to the point where I am actually shocked when I hear about a law enforcement official who puts the truth and integrity above a conviction. I know it happens. But it just seems so rare.

    When I lived in Chicago, I had far more fear of random police encounters than those with criminals or crazies. Tell me that wasn’t a rational reaction.

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  11. #11 |  SJE | 

    Burge should have gotten the sum of the time served by every person wrongfully convicted due to him.

    Regarding use of taxpayers money: the DA etc has discretion, and (no surprises) uses it to advance their own careers and protect themselves from criticism. This means targeting student investigators, people with cameras, the poor, and non-violent drug offenders. Targeting violent people or corrupt officials is dangerous!

  12. #12 |  ktc2 | 

    Not surprising. Nothing is more important than protecting the cops ability to fabricate any narrative they please. We can’t have facts or evidence getting in the way of police work now can we?

  13. #13 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    “Ms. Moore said the investigators tried to talk her out of filing a complaint, saying the officer had a good record and that they could “guarantee” that he would not bother her again.”

    I see. So CPD deals with possible sex offenders in their ranks in a manner similar to the Catholic church. Nice. Sounds like Ms. Moore’s decision to record her interview with IA was prescient.

    #4 Delta: Good points on Laura Victoria’s obnoxious posts and latent racism. Not to excuse the actions of Alvarez, of course, but I think her real problem is latent white supremacy, not an objection to corrupt DA’s, per se. Methinks she would have like Bull Connor just fine. The only thing you left out was her immature overuse of the word “pig.” Bitch, you are so retro.

    Hey Laura, tu chingadita, I think you would fit in better at or wherever Pat Buchanan is hanging out these days. Vaya con dios, puta.

  14. #14 |  Laura Victoria | 

    Sorry, I belong here. And I live in Mexico. I don’t believe in affirmative action and have witnessed what happens with it. So when phony latinas whose character traits have nothing to do with latin roots behave like Alvarez or the other AA losers around the country, I don’t like it.

    I’m a libertarian, like most on this site. I don’t believe your LSAT score should have 25 percent plus added on because you’re latino or black and deducted if you’re white or Asian.

    I love Mexicans. I’m sitting at the local Starbucks now in San Jose del Cabo. I don’t like phony Hispanics who play on their distant ancestry to win brownie points with white pig supporters. I apparently did not know libertarians were supporters of government unions either.

  15. #15 |  Laura Victoria | 

    I admit I am a bit retro on the “pig” term. This is especiallly frustrating given actual pigs are such nice animals. Is there a better and less retro term to describe the police scumbags?

  16. #16 |  Rich | 

    I understand that their seems to be a rule that the first person to say Nazi looses the debate.
    Well I hate Illinois Nazis anyway, The people of Illinois have decided to allow their representatives to legally make laws that deny them basic rights.
    They get what they deserve. They choose safety over liberty, in that state good for them. I do not have to live with the cowards. In the end its not the police, its not the politicians, its the Cowards who allow them to do it at the voting booth.
    Shame on the people of that state they should hide there heads, there flag should be lower then any other state at all public functions they should be ridiculed and mocked for being cowardly fascist sheeple.
    Since I lost the argument from the beginning with the Nazi thing I thought it would be a good time to just Rant.
    I feel better, thank you, I missed my therapy.

  17. #17 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    #16 Rich: “Shame on the people of that state”

    I am one of the people of “that state,” and I do not condone or support Alvarez, Burge, Daley, etc. I live in Central IL. This part of IL is not flawless by any means, but most people do not consider corruption a regular part of doing business or governing. I am afraid this is a common notion in Chicago.

    Rich, I would urge you not to throw around the phrase “the people” too much. People who claim to know “the people” often have no respect for individuals.

  18. #18 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    #16 Rich: “I understand that their seems to be a rule that the first person to say Nazi looses the debate”

    I believe that is called “Godwin’s Law” and it seems to be accuarate most of the time, including this time.

  19. #19 |  omar | 

    Conservatives [who can go to hell] need to start realizing that cops and not just teachers [teachers are not the subject of this post] are union [unions are not the subject of this post] scum who typically endorse dems [who can go to hell] and whose numbers Obama [Obama is not the subject of this post] padded in his misdirected stimulus efforts [stimulus is not the subject of this post].

    Sentence 2 and you are all over the place. It’s hard to know which angry platitude to respond to. I’m not going to qualify your libertarian bona fides, but you sound like an angry drunk.

  20. #20 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    #15 Laura Victoria

    You may call corrupt, brutal or incompetent police officials whatever you prefer. That is not my problem. I would simply avoid using the broad brush as the New Left did, and as you are doing now. I do not buy the “few bad apples argument,” but when you label a large group of people–whether those people are police, teachers, lawyers, politicians or rabid right-wing union hatin’ libertarians–as something that is not human, simply because of their occupation or station in life, then I will object to that everytime.

    Real libertarians should understand that individuals can rise above less than ideal circumstances to make a difference and move their field or society forward. Failure to realize this seems to negate the alleged appreciation that said libertarians have for individuals, which calls into question the sacred “principles” that libertarians are supposed to hold dear. Without this belief that individuals can be good, productive citizens even if they work for troubled agencies, these so-called libertarians reveal themselves to be nothing more than run of the mill cop-haters (or politician-haters or lawyer-haters teacher-haters), and their opinons should be treated accordingly by those of us who wish to improve society instead of giving up and running off to the wilderness to be “sovereign individuals.”

    Ok Laura, my speech is over. Now you may go back to slurping Mochas with your Hispanic friends in San Jose del Cabo. After that, don’t forget to get back in touch with your “black friends” in Compton. They miss you.

  21. #21 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    #19 Omar: “but you sound like an angry drunk.”

    Sweet! If I still had the option I would give you +1 for that, Omar. But hey, Laura isn’t so bad. She’s got Mexican friends, you know.

  22. #22 |  Gideon Darrow | 

    @ #16 Rich:

    “I hate Illinois Nazis . . . ”

  23. #23 |  omar | 

    @#20 | Helmut O’ Hooligan

    Real libertarians should understand that individuals can rise above less than ideal circumstances to make a difference and move their field or society forward.

    To believe in the viability of liberty, you have to believe in nearly all individuals, their ability, and willingness to make good decisions in their own interest.

    IMHO, playing the Ayn Rand card of separating the world into the doers and parasites doesn’t give the vast majority of people enough credit. It seems especially counter-productive to spreading the message of individual liberty to pigeonhole people into doers and parasites based on some real or imagined group affiliation.

    I learned this after 9/11 when my libertarian hero, Niel Boortz, started advocating racial profiling at the airports. I was really put off by the idea that his projection of my group affiliation should be cause to treat me differently under the law.

    Libertarianism works and spreads best as a positive message; if you are drawn to libertarianism out of angst and attempt to spread the label with anger and frustration, well “I’ve got mine, fuck you” becomes a persuasive if invalid criticism of the philosophy.

    I like this website because discussions are usually heady and focused. We disagree sharply with each other from a moral, logical, and emotional perspective, but hackery is never tolerated. Calling groups of people names over and over in unfocused rants give our philosophical opponents something to win an argument over and lowers the level of discussion for the grownups.

    @ #22 | Gideon Darrow

    Illinois Nazis remind me of the “God Hates Fags” people I pretend don’t exist.

  24. #24 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    #23 Omar:

    Very well said, Omar. Your depiction of Rand’s philosophy is, I believe, quite accurate. That’s why I never cared for her (Well that and she was basically a cult leader).

    Individuals that try to help fellow citizens, should be applauded, not incessantly analyzed for insidious motives (or for being “altruistic,” virutally a criminal activity for Objectivists). This is true even for those who, gasp, work for public agencies. Individuals who hurt others or try to get away with doing dirt by becoming one with the mob, should be criticized, shunned or held accountable (while having their due process rights respected).

    I believe in empowering individuals so that they rely less and less on government, their employers and other influential institutions. I don’t have a blueprint, and this project will always be a work in progress. I don’t know what you call that ideology, but it’s what I believe.

  25. #25 |  Rich | 

    #17 it would be perfectly constititional i believe to create a seperate state then maybe you could regain some honor your statesman have shamed you all this or a mass ritual hari kari then and only then will your state have any honor . Dont feel so bad the entirw state of texes sucks balls to

  26. #26 |  demize! | 

    I.don’t think calling someone a whore or a little f**k is elavating the discourse any. Even if the epithets are in a language other than English and the recipient is obnoxious in THEIR rhetoric. Ymmv.

  27. #27 |  demize! | 

    Elevating. Autocorrect, doesn’t.

  28. #28 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Godwin’s Law is trumped by Blues Brothers reference EVERY time.

    In spite of Helmut’s White Knight post: good cops cover-up for bad cops, which makes them bad cops. When the chips are down, seldom has a group demonstrated such dedication to each other as their primary duty. Seldom has a group had no one to blame but themselves for being lumped together and “hated” by so many. I mean all Nazi prison guards were bad…um…four fried chickens and a Coke.

    Real libertarians should understand that individuals can rise above less than ideal circumstances to make a difference and move their field or society forward.

    Good luck with that when the “field” in question is a violent, law-skirting agent of an authoritarian state. It doesn’t seem like a “field” worth elevating. And, it is nice to have you here explaining what “real libertarians” should understand.

    I know from your past posts that you have some connection with law enforcement (real or imagined), but c’mon, man.

    Ditto #26, too, Helmut.

  29. #29 |  Marty | 

    Boyd, I tend to line up with you when it comes to cops, but I think you paint with a brush that’s just a tad wider than mine… I’m starting to categorize cops. the worst are prison guards. there’s no helping any of them. the second worse are anyone in management who isn’t working to clean this up. this includes prosecutors, politicians, judges, and officers with rank. the third are narcotics and vice cops on the job longer than 3 weeks (about how long it should take to see it’s completely corrupt and broken). Propaganda cops are in the fourth category- DARE, etc. SWAT are in the fifth category- still very bad, but there’s slight potential for good. Now, we’re down to beat cops- a lot of bad ones, but a few great ones, too. A lot of how bad or good they are comes from management.
    to hell with it, they’re all swimming in the same cesspool- it’s time for privatization.

  30. #30 |  Laura Victoria | 

    Omar, the point of my response that you mocked in your quote is that law enforcement is given a free pass by conservatives based on their “law and order” knee jerkism that doesn’t apply the same suspicion of government union members they use with teachers (and others) to cops. And then it’s not as if we have the liberals to fall back on any more, as they are supporters of government unions (and vice versa).

    I really don’t know what is off-topic about my points. I strongly believe this bi-partisan support for these union thugs is the root of the continuing and growing problem of police abuse.

  31. #31 |  Balloon Juice » Oh Good Grief | 

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  32. #32 |  PaulW | 

    Next time, take the audio recording to the Feds and get witness protection…

    When people are absolved from accountability, they never do what they are supposed to do and then they end up either breaking the law or ignoring their responsibilities to others. This is what happens when we can’t police the police or any other government agency.

    Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes.

  33. #33 |  I fear for the world that is being left for my daugter « MjNet | 

    […] Live in IL? Don’t record the police! […]

  34. #34 |  albatross | 


    And yet, most cops, most of the time, aren’t brutal. It’s plain that individually, most cops could get away with a lot worse than they do, and as a group, local police forces could often get away with literal murder, working together. They overwhelmingly don’t. This, far more than the low-quality MSM reporting on police and prosecutor abuse, is why most middle-class whites, at least, don’t hate and fear the police. There’s a working culture in most police departments that keeps that kind of misbehavior on a leash.

    One thing that worries the hell out of me is the combination of the increasing militarization of police work, and the incoming crop of future policemen from our glorious adventures in pointless bloodshed and misery in the Middle East. It’s not hard to imagine how the culture of existing policemen might be changed, over time, until that leash disappears. And then, we will have few working legal or procedural mechanisms for controlling abuse by police and prosecutors.

  35. #35 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    #28 Boyd Durkin:
    “In spite of Helmut’s White Knight post”

    Exaggerate much, Boyd? Since you are so familiar with my “past posts,” you should understand that I am not a knee jerk defender of law enforcement. Just because I don’t engage in “smash the state” rhetoric doesn’t mean I am an apologist for the field.

    “I know from your past posts that you have some connection with law enforcement (real or imagined)”

    Was that last part supposed to be an insult? Gee, why not just call me a “badge licker” like some of the other nice folks on this blog might do. I do have a “real” conncetion with law enforcement. My dad was a police officer, so I learned the good, bad and ugly about policing from an early age. I also studied Criminal Justice and interned with a few police agencies. I know what I am talking about when it comes to policing, period. Now I work in healthcare security. I am not a sworn officer. I’m the guy that helps you when your car is stranded in a hospital parking deck or subdues you when you come in intoxicated and try to throttle a nurse. Frankly, I feel pretty good about what I do now. And for the record, I think I am held to a higher standard than public police. Hope that bit of background helped, Boyd.

    “Ditto #26, too, Helmut”

    Yeah, well sorry about that. It wasn’t my best exchange on this blog, but I felt like Laura Victoria had it coming. We all have off days.

  36. #36 |  JOR | 

    “Is there a better and less retro term to describe the police scumbags?”

    “Gangsters” is timeless and accurate. “Bandits” works too. “Imperial Porktroopers” is a bit more fun.

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