Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez.
-Daniel Denvir in Salon
In a meeting on July 24, 2012, Chicago Police Officer Allyson Bogdalek broke down and cried as she admitted to prosecutors the obvious: She had lied under oath in the case of a man accused of robbing a Back of the Yards liquor store and shooting the owner in the leg.
Prosecutors opened an investigation, and recommend indicting Bogdalek for perjury and other felonies, according to Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office files provided to Salon. In February 2014, however, the process came to a screeching halt: State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez overruled her subordinates and instructed them that no charges would be filed. The case, which until now has escaped much public notice, provides evidence to back charges that Alvarez, currently under fire for her handling of the fatal police shooting of Laquan McDonald, protects officers accused of misconduct.
“It’s a powerful example of State’s Attorney Alvarez’s refusal to address systemic perjury by Chicago police,” says Craig Futterman, a civil rights attorney and professor at University of Chicago Law School who reviewed the case at Salon’s request.
Bogdalek’s lie had become clear at the 2011 hearing. After she testified that they had never shown the victim photos of possible suspects, Hankerson’s defense attorney played a recording from Bogdalek’s squad car, in which she can be heard asking a sergeant whether they should take Hankerson into custody given that the victim had failed to identify him in a photo array, meaning a group of photographs of potential suspects shown to a witness.
Bogdalek and Catinella could not be reached for comment.
Futterman says that the case demonstrates that the “State’s Attorney has prioritized convictions over justice” and “numbers over truth,” a mind-set that deprives defendants of their rights and encourages the conviction of innocent people.
“Police perjury is so common here in Chicago that we call it testilying,” says Futterman. “The state’s attorney has relied on those very lies to win convictions.”
In a statement released to Salon, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office blamed judges and juries, saying that they decided not to prosecute Bogdalek because it is simply too hard to win convictions against police officers.