Daley picks lawyer to lead Chicago Police Board

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The founding partner of one of Chicago’s most prominent black law firms was chosen by Mayor Daley on Wednesday to become the new president of the Chicago Police Board.

Demetrius E. Carney, a former history teacher at St. Ignatius High School, replaces Albert C. Maule, who died of cancer in the fall at age 40.

Carney , 48, is a member of the Chicago Plan Commission. The law firm where he serves as managing partner, Carney and Brothers, does considerable bond business with the city and other government agencies.

Like Daley, Carney is a graduate of De La Salle High School. He met the mayor 10 years ago through the school’s alumni association.

The Police Board has the final say on disciplinary actions recommended by the police superintendent after a review by the Office of Professional Standards. The board also finds a new police superintendent when there’s a vacancy.

Carney said he’s confident he can be independent of City Hall, despite his friendship with Daley and his firm’s business ties to the city.

“I personally don’t handle public finance” in his law business, Carney said. “That’s handled by another partner. And we don’t depend that much on government business. Most of our business comes from the private sector.”

Carney declined to comment on the pending brutality case of Jorge Guillen, a Humboldt Park man who died last fall while police officers tried to subdue him.

Carney said he views the Police Board’s role in brutality cases as a delicate “balancing act.”

“This is not a great time to be a police officer,” he said. “Because of Mark Fuhrman and Rodney King, there’s a lot of cynicism toward police officers. People are watching police over their shoulder. I’m sure it invites more complaints and sometimes bogus complaints. If they come before us, we’ll deal with that as well. Our purpose is not to badger police officers.”

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