“Police perjury is so common here in Chicago that we call it testilying.”

Anita Alvarez

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.

The victim of the shooting had picked the suspect, Ranceallen Hankerson, out of a lineup. But Officer Bogdalek lied on the stand during an April 13, 2011, hearing when she denied that the victim had been shown photographs of possible suspects prior to Hankerson’s arrest. In fact, the victim had been shown photos, and he had failed to pick Hankerson out—evidence that would have proven beneficial to the defense.

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 finally came clean more than a year later, after prosecutors asked her about the discrepancy as the case was about to go to trial. Not only had she lied, she stated, but police detectives, multiple superiors and her partner, Officer Dominick Catinella, had encouraged her to do so. She said that she had wanted to inventory the photo array but Catinella “wanted her to forget about it because it hurt the case,” according to the prosecutors’ summary.

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.

Read the entire article in Salon.

One thought on ““Police perjury is so common here in Chicago that we call it testilying.”

  1. Perjury by Omission.
    That ‘s what the CPD code of silence is.
    Maybe recent developments will break that long-standing tradition of police covering up the criminal acts of their co-workers. Remember that was a small crack in the code that helped reveal the CPD use of torture to coerce confessions, leading to the May 2015 Chicago City Council creation of a $5.5 mil fund to pay reparations to survivors of that torture.

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