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05-04-07, 10:22 AM #1
Our Homicide Rate Just Jumped by 80
Police Admit Some Homicides Are Misclassified
But Cops Say They Were Not Intentionally Hiding Homicides
(CBS) CHICAGO Changes are taking place at the Chicago Police Department, thanks to an exclusive 2 Investigators story last year.
CBS 2 Investigator Pam Zekman questioned if the police department was fudging the murder rate by hiding homicides. Now several cases are getting a second look.
A raging fire killed three people and a woman's body was found in a South Side swamp.
Those are just four of about 80 cases CBS 2 wanted reviewed by the police department. That's because they were apparently not classified properly as homicides despite recommendations by the medical examiner.
Last year 2 Investigators asked the police superintendent about the cases, but they only reviewed about a dozen of the cases.
"We've learned that maybe through pure human error that they missed a step here or missed a step there,” Hiram Grau of the Chicago Police Department. “Not intentionally."
As a result of the investigation the deputy chief is setting up a system with the medical examiner's office to resolve their disputes. And a recently appointed homicide auditor will make sure questionable cases are properly classified.
The police department did review the case of 23 year-old Paula Figureroa. Her body was found in a swamp.
The medical examiner ruled she was the victim of a drowning, a homicide. But the police closed the case as a non-criminal death.
It has since been reclassified as a homicide.
"Based on some of the information they received, talking to a few people led them to believe, yeah, let's make this a homicide,” Grau said.
He said new information has now surfaced in other cases where the medical examiner's office and police department disagreed.
Like the deaths of two adults and a toddler who were killed in a West Side fire. Police now believe it may have been arson.
They are also reviewing the apparent strangulation of Charlie Allen. Detectives have ordered DNA tests, interviewed more witnesses and given one a lie detector test.
The homicide auditor will also review the apparent strangulation deaths of five women who were found in abandoned buildings or vacant lots.
"We owe it to the families of these victims,” Grau said. “Not just to the victims, but families, because they're devastated."
As for police officers who confided to us that there is pressure to hide homicides, Grau said "The people that are talking to you, I wish they'd talk to me, because I would certainly rectify that."
Grau says some detectives may feel pressured because they have so many cases assigned to them. But he denies that the department hides homicides.
(© MMVII, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.)
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05-05-07, 08:05 AM #2GrasshopperVerified LEO
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05-05-07, 10:21 PM #3
Pedro are STILL reading the damn paper?
05-06-07, 01:15 AM #4
There was a major city in Texas that our Criminal Justice teacher told us about, that classified ALL deaths as "unknown cause" until they solved the homicide - then they were reclassified as murder.
As a result, they had a 100% clearance rate on murders as reported in the UCR's
The FBI made them stop doing that.
I wish I could remember which city it was - I think it was in Central or South Texas.
Last edited by TXCharlie; 05-06-07 at 01:18 AM.
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