Jerome Finnigan was convicted in federal court of seeking to have another police officer murdered. | Brian Jackson/Sun-Times
List shows two convicted cops were topic of dozens of complaints
Two of Chicago’s dirtiest cops are at the top of a list of police officers who had generated more than 10 misconduct complaints between 2001 and 2006, according to newly released records.
Keith Herrera and Jerome Finnigan were members of a crew of rogue police officers convicted of home invasions and rip-offs of drug dealers.
Finnigan was convicted in federal court of seeking to have a fellow officer murdered because he thought the cop was a rat.
Herrera was cooperating with law enforcement authorities investigating the crew. He served a short prison sentence, and Finnigan remains behind bars.
According to a list released Tuesday, Herrera was the subject of 53 citizen complaints over the five-year period; Finnigan was named in 52 complaints. The police department didn’t take any action on any of those complaints, except for a 2003 complaint against Herrera in which he received a reprimand. The top four officers on the list were members of the now notorious Special Operations Section, which was disbanded after allegations of corruption.
Herrera and Finnigan also were on a separate list of officers who had received five or more complaints of excessive force between 2002 and 2008.
Herrera had 14 complaints, and Finnigan had eight. No action was taken against Herrera. The police department sustained one of the complaints against Finnigan, but he didn’t serve a penalty because he resigned from the department, according to the records.
Finnigan resigned after his arrest in 2007.
“My bosses knew what I was doing out there,” he told Judge Blanche Manning at his sentencing in 2011 when he received a 12-year prison term.
Herrera was sentenced to two months in federal custody in 2012 because of his cooperation.
On Tuesday, the city turned over a batch of documents — including the list of 662 officers — to independent journalist Jamie Kalven, who had filed an Illinois Freedom of Information Act request to obtain them.
The city initially fought Kalven’s request, saying complaints against police officers should remain secret.
But in March, a state appeals court ruled complaint files — and lists of officers who generated the most complaints — are open to the public.
Earlier this month, the city decided not to ask the state Supreme Court to review the appellate decision and agreed to turn over police complaint files to the public.
“After seven years of litigation during which the Kalven legal team argued that documents of this nature are public, it gives me deep satisfaction today to complete the process of making them so,” Kalven wrote on his web site, whose address is the.invisible.institute.
Kalven uploaded the newly released documents to his web site for public viewing.
Kalven’s quest for the complaint records came in connection with a police misconduct lawsuit filed in 2004.
University of Chicago law professor Craig Futterman, who represented the plaintiff in that lawsuit, found that less than 1 percent of misconduct allegations against Chicago Police officers were sustained by the department’s internal investigations, a far lower rate than the national average.
In a related legal action Tuesday, the city settled a lawsuit brought Monday by the Fraternal Order of Police.
The FOP sought an injunction to keep the city from releasing a 2006 list of officers placed in the city’s Behavioral Intervention System and Personnel Concerns Program until the union could review the list for accuracy.
Under the settlement, the city will release the list but will note that 36 officers successfully challenged being placed in the intervention programs, and their enrollment in the programs was removed from their personnel records in 2008.