Before the City Council vote Monday that as Darien’s new police chief, Brown addressed questions raised during the past few days over his background.
this weekend about several lawsuits Brown has faced during his 28-year career with the Chicago Police Department, as well as a job offer that was rescinded in 2008 over what Arizona police officials said were inconsistencies in his resume.
“I’ve had some tough assignments like most people in law enforcement at every level no matter where your jurisdiction is,” Brown said. “Some of those assignments required equally tough decisions, and even more than tough decisions, unpopular decisions. So when you (make) unpopular decisions, you make people unhappy.”
Brown was named in a class-action lawsuit the city of Chicago settled in 2003 for $500,000 over a raid he ordered of a community basketball tournament.
More than 20 officers searched roughly 250 people, including children, at the 2001 tournament in the Stateway Gardens housing project, according to court records.
A credible informant told Brown that a gunfight was going to occur at the event, he said.
“He had proven to be credible in the past,” he said. “The information had always proven to be absolutely correct.”
Brown said he dispatched two sergeants with the instructions “don’t let anybody get hurt.” They sealed the field house and conducted a search of the attendees that resulted in the recovery of two guns, Brown said.
One person was arrested for disorderly conduct after objecting to the search of his 9- and 10-year-old sons, according to court records.
Although he was not present during the raid, Brown said if he were present, the only thing he would have done differently would be to document each person the police physically contacted.
Brown said the city settled the lawsuit because counsel decided it would be less expensive than taking the case to trial.
Brown also addressed questions over his 2008 application to head the police department in Buckeye, Ariz.
Buckeye officials rescinded an offer, saying they found inconsistencies with his resume, the Arizona Republic reported at the time.
On his resume, Brown listed his title as assistant deputy superintendent, even though he recently had been demoted to lieutenant of the detective division, the Republic said.
Brown said during Monday’s meeting that he had applied for several positions during that time period and had two similarly named resumes stored on a USB drive. One resume correctly listed his job title as lieutenant while the other, outdated resume listed his former position.
“I inadvertently sent the wrong resume,” he said. “… There was no effort at deception.”
Brown also addressed a 1989 incident during which a Chicago man was shot after Brown obtained a search warrant for his apartment.
Andrew Sledd filed a lawsuit claiming Brown and several other officers entered his home by battering down the door without identifying themselves as police officers.
Thinking they were intruders, Sledd pulled a gun, according to court documents. An officer shot Sledd, then hit him in the head and kicked him in the groin.
Brown said the officers knocked on the door and announced themselves as police officers. When no one responded, he said they entered the home.
The city of Chicago settled the lawsuit for $687,000 in 1998 after Brown said the supervising sergeant in the case tested positive for cocaine. He said city attorneys determined they could not defend the case because of the officer’s drug record.
Brown also vehemently denied ever being the subject of a sexual harassment complaint.
“It is not in my moral fiber,” he said.
Chicago police Lt. Dominic Rizzi said he felt a duty to attend Monday’s meeting and speak in Brown’s support.
“My experience with the man has been nothing but professional,” he said. “He is beyond reproach.”
He compared a blog that features negative comments about Brown to “an electronic bathroom wall.”
No one who has worked with Brown has anything derogatory to say about him, Rizzi said.
City Administrator Bryon Vana praised Brown’s record with the Chicago Police Department, including an award of valor he received in 2002.
The city of Darien conducted an extensive background check on Brown that included conversations with former Chicago Police Superintendent Jody Weis and Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, Vana said.
He also noted that the four previous Chicago police superintendents have promoted Brown.
“It certainly shows me that your background is beyond reproach and impeccable for those four individuals to continue to promote you through the Chicago Police Department,” Vana said.
The city council voted 4-3 to approve Brown's appointment. Aldermen Halil Avci, Tina Beilke, John Poteraske and Ted Schauer voted to install Brown, while Alderman Sylvia McIvor, Joe Marchese and Joerg Seifert voted against the appointment.