25 years after a superintendent resigned, how has the CPD enforced Rule 47?


CHICAGO — Twenty-five years ago this month, the superintendent of the Chicago Police Department resigned after acknowledging that he violated a little-known and rarely cited departmental mandate: Rule 47.  

Codified by the Chicago Police Board in 1973, Rule 47 forbids CPD officers from “associating or fraternizing with any person known to have been convicted of any felony or misdemeanor, either State or Federal, excluding traffic and municipal ordinance violations.”  

Former Mayor Richard M. Daley appointed Matt Rodriguez to lead the CPD in 1992. Rodriguez joined the department in 1959 and was the first — and to date only — Latino superintendent in the department’s history. Rodriguez announced his resignation from the CPD in November 1997 after it was revealed that a longtime friend of his — a North Side businessman with close ties to the Chicago Outfit — had pleaded guilty to mail fraud and failing to pay income taxes in the mid-1980s.  

Chicago police misconduct investigators have cited Rule 47 on relatively few occasions in the quarter century since Rodriguez left the department. A WGN Investigates analysis of Chicago Police Board records found that, while dozens of CPD officers have come under investigation for suspected Rule 47 violations in the last 25 years, the discipline imposed on officers found guilty of associating with convicted felons can vary greatly. 

At least 46 Chicago police officers have come under scrutiny for suspected Rule 47 violations since 2006, according to police records.  

Of those 46 officers, investigators “sustained” misconduct charges against 11 of them. At the conclusion of those cases, one officer was fired, five were suspended and another was reprimanded, according to police records. The CPD took no disciplinary action against the other four officers.

The CPD categorizes misconduct complaints in 18 different groups, ranging from excessive force to bribery to traffic offenses. Alleged violations of Rule 47 are grouped with other complaints of “conduct unbecoming.” Since 2012, “conduct unbecoming” allegations accounted for more than 7% of 33,000 misconduct allegations brought against CPD officers, according to police department data. 

The most recent sustained Rule 47 violation was adjudicated earlier this year. The case involved a CPD lieutenant who, investigators determined, engaged in years-long correspondences with two dozen female prison inmates held in facilities across the country. That investigation was opened in March 2020 and, records show, the lieutenant’s correspondence with the inmates continued for another nine months.

That lieutenant, Samuel Dari of the Harrison District on the West Side, was ordered suspended for 45 days earlier this year, according to the CPD. WGN Investigates submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the CPD for all records related to the department’s internal investigation into Dari. The CPD denied the request as “unduly burdensome” as the investigative file contained more than 1,400 pages of records.

Reached by phone Monday, Dari declined to comment on his disciplinary case.

In March 2009, former Supt. Jody Weis sought to fire a patrol officer who was engaged in a yearslong romantic relationship and correspondence with a woman incarcerated in a downstate Illinois prison. Weis also accused the officer, Dante Walker, of improperly using CPD computers and databases to access information about the woman. 

The Chicago Police Board agreed with Weis and ordered Walker to be fired from the department the following November. Walker, who was hired by the CPD in 1993, filed a lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court to reverse the board’s decision. A judge ultimately sided with Walker, and instead of being fired, he was eventually suspended from the CPD for four years. A representative for the police department said Walker is currently assigned to the Wentworth District on the South Side. 

Shortly after 8 p.m. on July 14, 2011, a team of CPD officers was set to execute a search warrant at a home about a half-mile north of Midway Airport on the Southwest Side. As they were about to enter, a woman stood in the doorway, blocking the officers’ entry.

“You don’t have no f—— warrant,” she said. “You can’t come in my house.”

The woman was soon identified as off-duty CPD officer Victoria Gutierrez, and police found narcotics inside the home during their search. Gutierrez lived there with the father of her child, a man who, in the mid-90s, was found guilty of attempted murder and aggravated battery, according to Cook County court records.

After the search of the home in July 2011, the man was charged with being an armed habitual criminal, being a felon in possession of a weapon and possession of a controlled substance, records show. Three years later, he pleaded guilty to possession of a controlled substance and a judge sentenced him to two years of probation.

In April 2015, CPD Supt. Garry McCarthy brought administrative charges against Gutierrez, accusing her of violating five different departmental rules, including Rule 47. A year later, the Chicago Police Board — at the time chaired by Lori Lightfoot — voted to fire Gutierrez from the CPD. Gutierrez appealed the decision to in Cook County Circuit Court, but the judge ultimately sided with the police board and upheld Gutierrez’s firing.

“Officer Gutierrez’s interference with the raid at her home was particularly serious. Officer Gutierrez made several very poor decisions that show she is not fit to further serve as a police officer,” the police board wrote in its May 2016 decision. “She decided not to cooperate with the officers executing the search warrant, not to comply with the state statute and department policy on how to keep her weapons safe, and to associate in a continuing fashion with a known felon. These decisions, taken together, constitute serious misconduct and demonstrate extensive lack of judgment on the part of Officer Gutierrez that are incompatible with continued service as a police officer with the Chicago Police Department and that warrant her discharge.” 

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