(CHICAGO) Chicago Police Officer John Poulos was cleared of the fatal shooting of an unarmed burglary suspect in 2013, and he is under investigation in the fatal shooting last month of an unarmed teenager in West Englewood. Chicago Police investigators now want to know why the department never closed a 2004 internal affairs investigation that could have cost Poulos his badge more than a decade ago, the Sun-Times is reporting.
CPD Supt. Eddie Johnson has ordered an audit to determine why the 2004 investigation of Poulos’ possible ownership interest in a bar, a violation of department policy, has never been closed.
Owning or working at an establishment that sells alcohol is a firing offense, but Poulos went on disability shortly after the department’s Internal Affairs Division began looking at his ownership of a bar in 2004. The investigation apparently went dormant because Poulos stayed off the job for another seven years, according to department sources.
The still-open case was discovered when the department began investigation Poulos’ fatal shooting in November of 19-year-old Kajuan Raye, CPD spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said.
“Following last month’s police involved shooting, CPD began its customary review of the sergeant’s personnel history, including the 2004 Internal Affairs investigation into the sergeant’s ownership of an establishment that sells alcohol,” Guglielmi said in a statement. “This investigation was never concluded under prior police administrations and there are incomplete details and unanswered questions about that case.”
The investigation apparently didn’t restart when Poulos returned to active duty with the department in 2011, and didn’t raise any red flags when he was investigated in 2013 for shooting Rickey Roselle, a burglary suspect Poulos confronted after leaving Gamekeepers, an Old Town bar he said at the time was owned by his family.
It is not clear what the department can do if it determines that Poulos did have a stake in the bar in 2004, or if and when he divested himself from the business.
Spyridon Poulos is listed as the president of the corporation that owns Gamekeepers, a business that has existed since 1974. The bar’s website says it opened in 1984.
IPRA cleared Poulos of wrongdoing in the shooting, and the veteran officer was made sergeant a year later, a merit promotion awarded by his then-Commander, Kevin Navarro, who now is Johnson’s top deputy. Merit promotions are awarded by superior officers and aren’t based on an officer’s performance on civil service exams.
Officer John Poulos was stripped of his police powers last month, after he fatally shot Kajuan Raye in the back, after he claimed the teen twice pointed a gun at him during a foot chase in West Englewood.
When a candidate is nominated for a merit promotion, the department’s Human Resources division reviews their disciplinary history, but only looks for sustained complaints as far back as five years.
The department has budgeted for a new computer system to track disciplinary actions and complaints, which will go online in 2017, Guglielmi said.
“In 2017, CPD will begin implementing case management and early intervention systems that will keep track of officers’ personnel activity and help prevent instances like this in the future,” Guglielmi said.
According to records from the Independent Police Review Authority, the city agency that investigates police shootings and misconduct allegations, Poulos had eaten at the bar and left carrying his brother’s gun, when he saw Rozelle inside a vacant building near the bar. Poulos said his brother carried a gun for his work as a private investigator, and asked his brother to take the weapon home when he left the bar.
Poulos said he saw Rozelle burglarizing a vacant apartment next door to the bar, scuffled with Rozelle, and shot him twice when he appeared to be reaching for a gun. Police found no gun on Rozelle’s body, but did note that he was wearing a metallic wristwatch.
Poulos was stripped of his police powers last month, after he fatally shot Raye in the back, after he claims the teen twice pointed a gun at him during a foot chase in West Englewood.
— Chicago Sun-Times