A frequent problem we as Chicago lawyers face in defending clients charged with DUI or other criminal offenses that are initiated by contact with a police officer using a vehicle is that with alarming frequency, Chicago Police Department officers tell the Court there is no video because their squad video recording system was malfunctioning or not operational. Usually there's little to no paper trail to back this claim, despite the existence of written policies that require it, and the Court is left to decide what to believe. Naturally, this complicates the defense of those cases and eliminates important independent evidence.
We at Fagan Fagan & Davis are strong advocates for the use of video with audio in all police vehicles. Very often, these videos reveal important information that can help us develop a powerful defense for our clients. Even when that's not the case, it helps us and our clients objectively evaluate their case. Either way, squad video is helpful.
In response to the recent scandal over the shooting of LaQuan McDonald and other criminal police contacts that have been in the media, Interim Chicago Police Superintendent John Escalante has taken a strong stand on the issue, warning officers that they will face disciplinary action if their dash cams aren't properly functioning, and that includes audio.
This is good news for both police officers and defendants and we at Fagan Fagan & Davis applaud Interim Superintendent Escalante on taking steps to ensure that everyone gets the benefit of video and audio recordation of police contact.