A routine audit several months ago found that 11 Chicago Police officers had “inappropriately accessed police reports” from a Dec. 19, 2014, robbery in Ravenswood, police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said in an emailed statement Thursday night.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s son Zach was robbed about 10 p.m. that night in the 4200 block of North Hermitage in the Ravenswood neighborhood.
Each of the 11 officers received one-day suspensions and formal reprimands for violating department policy, Guglielmi wrote.
Officers and department employees are allowed to access police reports, motor vehicle information, criminal history records and intelligence bulletins only “for official reasons,” the statement said.
“This kind of action is not uncommon or new by any means and is done to protect the integrity of law enforcement sensitive information and the integrity of our cases,” Guglielmi wrote.
He added that 12 officers were given similar suspensions for accessing case files without law enforcement purposes after the fatal shooting at the River North Nordstrom department store in November 2014.
A spokesman for the Fraternal Order of Police said the officers’ union had not been notified of the suspensions and declined to comment. A representative for the Chicago Police Sergeants’ Association could not be reached for comment.
The robbery occurred just days before the mayor and his family left on another one of their exotic Christmas vacations—this time to Chile. It was a particularly poignant trip, since it would be Zach Emanuel’s last before going off to college.
The mayor returned from the trip and made his first public comment about the attack. On that day, he said Zach was talking on a cell phone with a college counselor when he was jumped from behind by two unarmed men. The mayor reported on that day that his son was “doing fine, but I can’t say the same about his parents.”
In a follow-up interview with the Chicago Sun-Times, Emanuel was open about the anguish he felt after learning about the attack.
“Your most basic instinct as a parent is to protect your child and there they are only 50 feet away from your house…You want to protect your children. You also have to give them independence. There’s that inherent conflict,” the mayor said then.
Days before the only arrest in the case, the mayor said, “I’m hoping they find him soon because I’m not sure Miranda rights is something I believe in right now. I say that as a joke.”
The rage the mayor felt about the young men who mugged his son was matched only by the anger he felt when mayoral challenger Bob Fioretti tried to make a campaign issue of it. At the time, Fioretti criticized Emanuel’s failure to press charges in the case.
“I know Bob Fioretti. Bob Fioretti is a better person than those comments reflect. People’s families are off-limits,” the mayor said.
On Friday, Jim Ade, president of the Chicago Police Sergeants Association, said he’s surprised by the suspensions and hinted strongly that he viewed those disciplinary measures as an over-reaction by City Hall.
“It could have been handled in a different way,” Ade said. “If there are sensitive reports out there, why are they able to be viewed in the first place?”
Contributing: Fran Spielman