UAlberta Law presents: "Police shootings in the City of Chicago: Litigation issues and challenges"

Dean's Speaker Series welcomes prominent Chicago attorney and one of Canada's leading criminal defence lawyers.

Priscilla Popp - 13 March 2017

Gun control, whistleblowing, and complex forensics were just a few of the items on the agenda at "Police Shootings in the City of Chicago: Litigation Issues and Challenges," a special installment of the Dean's Speaker Series, held on March 3 at the Law Centre.

Dean Paton provided opening remarks at the event and later, moderated a conversation between Jonathan Clark Green, Senior Counsel in the City of Chicago Department of Law, and Brian Beresh, Q.C., senior and founding partner at Liberty Law.

Green spoke for the first half of the presentation, giving an overview of the legal system in Chicago, the conflicts and challenges of civil representation in police shooting cases, and forensic evidence.

He began by telling the audience that police shootings in the city of Chicago are automatically investigated by the Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA) and referred to the State's Attorney's Office. Additionally, the officer involved is taken off the street for 30 days after a shooting and given a 24-hour cool-off period before giving an official statement.

Another topic discussed was the implications of social media and complexities of forensic evidence. Green said that ballistics experts and shooting scene reconstructionists help with investigations, though he warned the audience not to believe everything that is seen on TV regarding crime scene investigations.

The final portion of the event was reserved for a question-and-answer session. Dean Paton opened with a question, before turning it over to the audience. Together, Green and Beresh engaged in dialogue as they discussed the political environment of practicing law in the United States, the number of police shootings and homicide rates in Chicago, public faith in police officers, and how media relations impacts the job.

UAlberta Law would like to thank Jonathan Clark Green and Brian Beresh, Q.C. for sharing their time and expertise with us.