05:15 GMT20 January 2021
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    A police officer with over 90 complaints of misconduct on his record has been promoted to commander by the Chicago Police Department.

    Commander James Sanchez has been on the police force since 1985, and during that time he has received at least 90 formal complaints, ranging from improper searches to the use of excessive force. He is now in charge of more than 300 officers in the Ogden District, including some of the most crime-heavy areas of the city.

    Details of Sanchez’ time on the force were obtained by local station WJCT, under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act. He was promoted August 2016, despite having nearly twice as many complaints as any other district commander in the department. The majority are for using excessive force.

    “Those should be red flags,” University of Chicago law professor Craig Futterman told WBEZ. “Where there’s smoke, there’s usually fire.”

    The complaints against Sanchez include 16 misconduct complaints filed against both him and former officer Jerome Finnigan. Finnigan was sent to federal prison for corruption and a murder-for-hire plot against another cop, the station reported. Half of the complaints were for excessive force, and the officers were not found at fault in any of the 16 complaints.

    Additionally, Sanchez was the lead detective in a murder case that sent an innocent man to prison, leading to a $750,000 settlement after the man was acquitted. The victim had already spent three years in prison for the crime he did not commit.

    In a statement, police department spokesman Frank Giancamilli told WBEZ that the department “takes into consideration the full background of potential command-staff promotional candidates. This includes Cmdr. Sanchez, who was appointed based upon the superintendent’s confidence in his ability to reduce crime and build community partnerships in the (Ogden) district.”


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