By Phil Rogers
Officials from multiple agencies remain tight-lipped about a violent traffic accident last June which killed two people, one of them a Chicago Police Officer.
The official version states that officer Taylor Clark, who had just finished his shift, took off and ran from fellow officers who believed his car matched that of a carjacking suspect from a few days prior. After a 12-block chase down Roosevelt Road, Clark’s SUV rammed a car driven by another motorist, Chequita Adams.
Both were killed. And now, nearly 10 months later, those facts—the bare minimum released the first day after the tragedy—remain virtually all that is known about the crash.
“I am not satisfied with the results and the answers we are getting,” says Clark’s cousin, Blaze Taylor. “He wasn’t a guy who would run from police.”
Taylor told Telemundo Chicago his cousin was not just a policeman, but a highly educated self-starter, who would have had no reason to try to elude fellow officers.
“It leads me to believe that the story is not being told,” he said.
Investigators for the Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA) insist they are conducting a rigorous investigation.
“While we understand the public’s interest in receiving more details, COPA has a duty to complete a thorough investigation, in every case, but particularly when there is a loss of life,” spokesman Mia Sissac said in a statement.
“As an agency, we understand our investigations must be just and efficient in order to build public trust so we do ask for patience. However, as we close this case in the near future we will be confident in our findings and share our recommendations publicly,” the statement said.
Citing a crisis of confidence in law enforcement, first-term State’s Attorney Kimberly Fox promised to fast-track investigations into potential police misconduct. But a spokesman issued a terse “we do not comment on pending investigations,” when asked about the Clark case.
Investigation of such cases is the responsibility of COPA, of course, not the State’s Attorney; which is responsible only for bringing potential charges after investigations are complete. And those closest to the case have wondered aloud why such an inquiry is taking so long when civilian matters involving traffic accidents are resolved in a matter of days.
“Why a police officer, who had just gotten off work, who had no drugs or alcohol in his system, would be engaged in some sort of high-speed chase with his fellow officers?” asked attorney Torreya Hamilton, who represents Clark’s family. “We want some answers and the city is getting them but not sharing them.”
That’s an opinion shared by representatives of the family of Chequita Adams, the second victim in the crash.
“The real question comes down to—did the officers in the SUV who were chasing Taylor Clark know him?” attorney James Montgomery told NBC 5 in January. “That’s the real question.”