You are on page 1of 11

12-Person Jury

FILED
1/15/2021 4:51 PM
IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF COOK COUNTY IRIS Y. MARTINEZ
COUNTY DEPARTMENT, LAW DIVISION CIRCUIT CLERK
COOK COUNTY, IL
FILED DATE: 1/15/2021 4:51 PM 2021L000514

FRANKLIN D. PAZ, Jr. ) 11859621


)
Plaintiff, )
)
2021L000514
vs. ) 2021 L
)
The CITY OF CHICAGO, Illinois, a municipal ) Judge
corporation, )
Defendant. )

COMPLAINT

Plaintiff FRANKLIN D. PAZ, Jr. by his attorneys, Thomas P. Needham and Torreya L.

Hamilton, makes the following complaint against Defendant CITY OF CHICAGO (“Defendant

CITY”):

JURISDICTION AND VENUE

1. This Court has personal jurisdiction over Defendant CITY pursuant to 735 ILCS 5/2-209(a)

because this action arises from the Defendant’s wrongful conduct substantially connected with

the State of Illinois. Defendant’s wrongful conduct took place in Cook County.

2. Venue is proper in Cook County pursuant to 735 ILCS 5/2-101 because a substantial part of the

events or omissions giving rise to the claims alleged occurred in Cook County.

PARTIES

3. Plaintiff PAZ is a resident of Chicago, Illinois and a lieutenant with the Chicago Police

Department (“CPD”).

4. Defendant CITY is a municipal corporation, duly incorporated under the laws of the State of

Illinois. Defendant CITY is PAZ’s employer as defined under the Illinois Whistleblower Act.

1
FACTS

Quota-based Policing is Illegal and it Leads to Unconstitutional Police Practices


FILED DATE: 1/15/2021 4:51 PM 2021L000514

5. Illinois law prohibits the City of Chicago and other municipalities from requiring police officers

to issue a certain number of citations within a designated period of time.

6. Under Illinois law, it is also illegal for the City of Chicago to evaluate a police officer’s

performance by comparing the number of citations issued by officers to other officers

performing the same job duties.

7. The use of quota-based policing strategies, which require police officers to make a certain

number of stops per day, regardless of the amount of criminal activity occurring that day, has

been recognized to cause illegal seizures and racial profiling.

8. Seizures made by police without probable cause are violations of the Fourth Amendment to the

United States Constitution.

9. Racial profiling is a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution.

The Career of Plaintiff Franklin PAZ

10. PAZ is 48 years old and is a lifelong resident of Chicago.

11. PAZ is Hispanic and grew up in the Little Village and Lawndale communities, where he

witnessed and experienced unconstitutional police practices, firsthand.

12. PAZ became a Chicago police officer in 1999.

13. PAZ became a police officer to serve communities like the ones he was raised in, and to do it in

an unbiased manner that respects the rights of the citizens he serves.

14. PAZ was promoted by the CITY from police officer to the rank of sergeant in 2012.

15. PAZ was promoted by the CITY from sergeant to the rank of lieutenant in 2020.

16. PAZ has a bachelor’s degree in administration of justice and two master’s degrees, one in public

safety administration and the other in law enforcement administration.

2
17. During his career, PAZ has worked both in the CPD patrol division (later re-named operations

bureau) and also in several specialized units.


FILED DATE: 1/15/2021 4:51 PM 2021L000514

18. During PAZ’s career, he has earned an excellent reputation among his colleagues on the

Chicago Police Department and has received close to 200 awards, commendations, honorable

mentions and complimentary letters from residents of Chicago for his work.

19. During July of 2020, PAZ was assigned by his superiors to lead one of the units of the CPD’s

newly-created “community safety team”, or CST. The CPD refers to the units in the CST as

“platoons.”

20. Chicago police superintendent David Brown created the CST in response to a significant

increase of violent crimes in Chicago.

21. Superintendent Brown used police officers who had previously been assigned to other

specialized units to staff the new CST.

22. In this assignment, PAZ had responsibility for supervising 48 police officers and six sergeants.

23. All of the lieutenants in the CST reported to Deputy Chief Michael Barz, who was assigned this

responsibility by the police superintendent.

Barz Begins Pushing Quotas

24. As soon as Barz took command of the CST, he began to urge PAZ and the other lieutenants to

increase the number of traffic stops, arrests, citations, and other police contacts that the officers

on the teams made during their shifts.

25. The use of numbers and statistics, particularly traffic stops, became the primary basis that Barz

used to evaluate the work that the officers under his command were doing.

26. For example, Barz instructed the supervisors of the CST that he expected the officers assigned

there to generate specific amounts of police activity per shift they worked.

3
27. Barz demanded certain numbers relating to police activity, regardless of the criminal or traffic

activity justifying police intervention. In other words, regardless of the criminal activity occurring
FILED DATE: 1/15/2021 4:51 PM 2021L000514

that day, his officers were required to make the same number of stops.

28. When a unit engaged in a high number of stops, Barz congratulated the supervisors of the unit

by telling them that their units were “crushing the numbers.”

29. By the “numbers” Barz meant traffic stops, arrests, citations, and other documented police

contacts with people on the street.

30. When the CPD decided to expand the size of the CST by 200 officers, Barz encouraged the

supervisors in his command to identify officers for transfer to his command, but to “only recruit

solid officers who want to work. No one blue card a day people.”

31. The reference to “blue card” means, within the CPD, a document created by officers who detain

an individual but do not formally issue a traffic citation or place the person under arrest.

32. In one meeting with a group of lieutenants just assigned to the CST, Barz stated that the new

approach of Superintendent Brown was “the same game, different name” and said the

expectations of Superintendent Brown were that officers should focus on increased traffic stops

and “getting blue cards.”

33. Before Barz was assigned to oversee the CST, CPD regularly monitored the funerals of known

gang members who had been murdered. This was done because there would often be violence at

these funerals in retaliation for the deceased’s murder. A police presence at these funerals acted

as a deterrent for more violence and protected the mourners in attendance.

34. After Barz took over the CST, a lieutenant asked Barz if the CST should be monitoring funerals

of gang members, in light of recent incidents of violence associated with them. Barz’s response

was to say “fuck that, they can hire their own security, we’re not doing that shit anymore.”

4
35. Before being placed in charge of the CST, when he was a police captain and before his

promotion by Superintendent Brown, Barz ran the CPD summer mobile unit. In that position,
FILED DATE: 1/15/2021 4:51 PM 2021L000514

Barz created an informal incentive system whereby he permitted officers who produced specific

amounts of police activity, such as “blue cards,” to leave work early.

PAZ Refuses to Engage in Illegal and Unconstitutional


Policing Practices and Discloses Barz’s Use of Them

36. As soon as Barz took over command of the CST, he began to criticize the “platoon” that PAZ

was in charge of, falsely accusing those officers and their supervisors of not generating enough

“activity.”

37. Between approximately mid-July, 2020 and mid-September, 2020, Barz made statements to a

number of the CST officers, including PAZ, that indicated he was requiring the CST officers to

meet quotas in their daily activities.

38. In one conversation, Barz instructed PAZ that the officers in his platoon should be bringing in

a minimum of 10 “blue cards” per day, just like the officers who worked in the summer mobile

unit had done for Barz.

39. In another conversation, Barz singled out one of the sergeants that reported to PAZ, stating that

he was going to be “dumped” (meaning removed from his assignment) unless he began

“producing” more police activity.

40. When PAZ tried to defend the sergeant by explaining that in the past, they had focused on

community policing efforts and quality of life issues in their areas, which do not result in the

data that Barz wanted, Barz’s response was to say “fuck community policing, I need activity.”

41. On one occasion, Barz told PAZ that the officers PAZ supervised were not generating enough

activity and that they should be making double digit numbers of traffic stops.

42. Barz threatened to “blow up the entire platoon” and “dump” everyone out of the unit unless he

started seeing the type of statistics he wanted.


5
43. Barz directed PAZ and the sergeants who PAZ supervised to find some way to motivate the

officers to bring in ten “blue cards” per day and that if they could not do that, Barz would find
FILED DATE: 1/15/2021 4:51 PM 2021L000514

other supervisors who could.

44. During these conversations with Barz, PAZ repeatedly tried to explain the difficulty of meeting

his expectations. For example, PAZ reminded Barz that there was a pandemic going on,

meaning many people were staying home, and further that the police officers were dealing with

other challenging issues such as staying physically and mentally healthy themselves. Barz’s

response was to state “I don’t want to hear any of that bullshit, they still have to come to work

and produce.”

45. In one conversation with Barz, PAZ explained that requiring officers to engage in this sort of

statistic-based policing, focusing only on the numbers of street stops or arrests was problematic

and that was why prior command staff measured success in other ways, such as by the

prevention of violence or the deterrence of shootings.

46. Barz replied by saying “fuck Waller, fuck Watson, fuck Holt, fuck Douglas, and fuck you, too.”

These are the names of former CPD command staff members who had supervised PAZ and the

other members of the CST before Barz. All of the former supervisors Barz listed were African-

American.

47. Barz went on to state that “all of those Black bosses were complete failures and that’s why I’m

here. You’re either with me or against me and if you are not with me, then you better bring it

and bring it hard.”

48. When PAZ told Barz his comments were not appropriate, Barz asked PAZ “who do you think

the superintendent is going to believe, me or your fat ass?”

49. PAZ reasonably believed Barz was insisting that the police officers on the CST engage in illegal

activity. By demanding a certain number of stops without regard to the criminal activity

6
justifying those stops, Barz was effectively requiring officers to engage in unlawful profiling,

seizures of people that were not justified by probable cause, and violations of the civil rights of
FILED DATE: 1/15/2021 4:51 PM 2021L000514

persons they encountered.

50. PAZ disclosed his concerns about the illegal conduct Barz was demanding to other supervising

CPD officers in the CST.

51. On September 23, 2020, PAZ sent an email to Deputy Superintendent Barb West requesting a

meeting with her to report on Barz’s illegal demands. West at the time was in charge of the

CPD’s “Office of Constitutional Policing and Reform.”

52. PAZ never received a response to his email to West, and several days later, West retired.

53. On the evening of September 25, 2020, PAZ also sent an email to Barz himself, where he set

forth in writing his objections to Barz’s demands that the officers on the CST engage in quota-

based police activity. PAZ specifically cited the CPD’s general orders and the federal consent

decree that governs the City of Chicago and its police officers. PAZ stated “I can not in good

faith and will not mandate Officers to bring in ‘x’ amount of numbers and activity. This is the

exact reason we are in a consent decree as we speak.”

54. Later, PAZ also made a complaint to the City of Chicago Office of the Inspector General about

Barz’s misconduct and provided that office with information about what was happening in the

CST.

The Retaliation

55. On September, 26, 2020, the day after receiving PAZ’s email refusing to participate on Barz’s

illegal police orders, Barz appeared at several roll calls for the CST. PAZ was not present at

these roll calls.

7
56. Barz told officers at those roll calls that it was PAZ who was the problem with their teams’

performance and not Barz. In addition, Barz made false derogatory comments about PAZ to his
FILED DATE: 1/15/2021 4:51 PM 2021L000514

team members and assured everyone that he was going to “take care” of the problem.

57. Barz also stated to those present in at least one of the roll calls that he did not care if people got

shot in their areas of deployment because “people get shot in the ghetto and if it happens, it

happens.” Barz told this roll call that they should just keep working and keep stopping cars.

58. Shortly after Barz received the email PAZ sent him on the evening of September 25, 2020, Barz

decided to remove PAZ from his position as a lieutenant in the CST. However, he did not

communicate this decision to PAZ. Instead, Barz told others in the CPD hierarchy that he

wanted PAZ removed.

59. Barz’s superiors in the CPD went along with Barz and supported the decision to remove PAZ

from his assignment.

60. The first that PAZ learned that he had been removed from his assignment was on October 2,

2020, when he received a text message from the CPD commander of the 3rd district asking him

if he was aware that he had been re-assigned there and was scheduled to begin working there

two days later, on October 4, 2020.

61. On October 3, 2020, PAZ learned from the staff at the 3rd district that he was being placed on

the midnight shift in patrol and that his days off were being changed.

62. Neither Barz nor anyone from the CPD have ever explained to PAZ why he was being removed

from the CST and sent to work the midnight shift in the 3rd district.

63. When a lieutenant of police is removed from a special unit like the CST and re-assigned to

patrol, against his wishes, that is considered in the Chicago Police Department to be an adverse

and negative personnel decision.

8
64. Within the culture of the Chicago Police Department, the term that is used for a re-assignment

such as the one that Barz arranged for or ordered for PAZ is a “dump;” as in, “PAZ was
FILED DATE: 1/15/2021 4:51 PM 2021L000514

dumped back to patrol.”

65. PAZ’s removal or “dumping” from the CST was because he refused to participate in the illegal

policing tactics that Barz was insisting on and because he disclosed Barz’s illegal policing tactics

to other CPD supervisors and officers.

66. PAZ’s removal from his assignment was an act of retaliation by the CPD in general and by Barz

in particular.

67. As a result of the illegal retaliation by Barz, PAZ has suffered and continues to suffer extreme

humiliation, embarrassment, anxiety and stress.

68. Barz has forced PAZ into the position of being a whistleblower about illegal policing happening

at CPD. Being a police whistleblower causes extreme stress for the whistleblower. Police

whistleblowers are often treated by other officers with disdain and mistrust.

69. Instead of protecting and shielding whistleblowers from retaliation, the City of Chicago allows

its police department to formally retaliate against whistleblowers by “dumping” them to

unfavorable assignments.

70. As a result of the extreme stress the Department’s retaliation against him has caused, PAZ was

hospitalized.

71. As of the date of filing this complaint, Barz remains in his position commanding the CST.

72. The CITY now has between 800 and 1,000 police officers assigned to the CST, and Barz

continues to urge them to engage in unlawful quota-based police activity.

COUNT I
(Illinois Whistleblower Act)
740 ILCS 174/5 et seq.

73. Each of the preceding paragraphs is re-alleged as if fully restated here.

9
74. Defendant CITY is PAZ’s employer as defined by the Illinois Whistleblower Act.

75. Defendant CITY retaliated against PAZ by dumping him from the CST to the midnight shift in
FILED DATE: 1/15/2021 4:51 PM 2021L000514

the patrol division because PAZ refused to engage in a violation of state and federal law and/or

because he disclosed what he reasonably believed was a violation of state or federal law, rule or

regulation to members of a law enforcement agency.

76. PAZ refused to enforce an illegal police strategy based on quotas for officers and also refused to

direct the officers he supervised to engage in quota-based police activity.

77. PAZ disclosed that Barz was requiring officers in the CST to use quota-based policing strategies,

which is a violation of Illinois and federal law.

78. As described more fully above, Defendant CITY, by and through its agents at the Chicago Police

Department, retaliated against PAZ because of his refusal to participate in conduct that is in

violation of state and/or federal law, rule, or regulation and/or because he disclosed what he

reasonably believed to be a violation of state and/or federal law, rule, or regulation. 740 ILCS

174/20 and 15(b).

79. In addition, prior to actually being retaliated against, Defendant CITY, through its agent Barz,

threatened to retaliate against PAZ for his refusal to violate the law. 740 ILCS 174/20.2.

80. The Chicago Police Department’s action in moving PAZ from his assignment on the CST to the

bureau of operations was materially adverse to PAZ, and would be to any reasonable employee.

81. PAZ’s treatment by the Chicago Police Department, as described above, has also caused him

significant stress and anxiety, and damage to his reputation, as well as anguish about his status in

the law enforcement profession.

82. In addition, PAZ has lost other employment benefits that he had when he worked in the CST

and has had his work schedule changed in a way that is adverse to him.

83. As a result of this retaliation against him, PAX has suffered significant damages.

10
WHEREFORE, PAZ prays for a judgment against Defendant CITY in excess of

$50,000.00 and granting PAZ:


FILED DATE: 1/15/2021 4:51 PM 2021L000514

A. Reinstatement to the assignment he had prior to his removal from the bureau of
operations or to some other place within the CPD that is agreeable to him;

B. Compensation for litigation costs, expert witness fees, and reasonable attorneys’ fees;

C. Compensation for any other damages sustained, such as the loss of income and benefits,
and any other relief as is just and equitable.

PLAINTIFF DEMANDS TRIAL BY JURY

Respectfully Submitted,

FRANKLIN PAZ, Plaintiff

By: /s Thomas P. Needham

Law Office of Thomas P. Needham


53 West Jackson Boulevard, Suite 452
Chicago, Illinois 60604
312.726.3171
tpn@needhamlaw.com
Firm No. 38788

By: /s Torreya L. Hamilton


Attorney for Plaintiff

HAMILTON LAW OFFICE, LLC


53 West Jackson Boulevard, Suite 452
Chicago, Illinois 60604
312.726.3173
tlh@thehamiltonlawoffice.com
Firm No. 46111

11