City Gave Officers' Personal Info To Gang Leader, So They're Suing

A federal judge refused to throw out a lawsuit by seven officers whose personal information was sent to a prisoner.

Aurora, IL – A federal judge has declined to throw out a lawsuit by seven police officers whose personal information was sent to inmates in response to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.

The officers filed suit in July of 2017 after they learned that the city of Aurora’s records manager had sent their addresses, phone numbers, names of family members, Social Security numbers, and other personnel records to convicted felons serving time, WGN-TV reported.

Jesse Alvarez, a gang leader sentenced to 88 years behind bars at Menard Correctional Center for attempted murder, sent a handwritten FOIA request to the city for the personnel records of six police officers who had helped to convict him, the Chicago Tribune reported.

The city, under the supervision of then-records manager Jo Ann Osberg, sent largely unredacted personnel files of the officers to the inmate at the prison in October of 2015.

Alvarez was convicted of shooting and trying to kill a rival gang member, the Chicago Tribune reported.

An audit of the city’s FOIA files in March of 2017 exposed the fact that the city had also sent unredacted personnel records of another officer, now retired, to another felon.

The seven affected officers filed a lawsuit against Osberg and the city of Aurora, claiming that the city’s actions had put them and their families in danger.

The city and the former city records manager filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, and argued that Osberg was entitled to qualified immunity because the mistake had been made under the auspices of doing her job.

The city tried to argue that releasing the files only created a “potential” danger for the police officers and their families,

However, District Judge Sara L. Ellis disagreed and said the officers had met their burden of proof for pleading their case under theories including state-created danger, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Ellis said the government can be held liable in circumstances when their actions create a danger, WGN reported. She also said Osberg was not entitled to qualified immunity.

The city argued that releasing officer files only posed a potential danger, but the judge said the danger is "actual."

The judge said it's plausible the city provided a convicted felon information he could use to seek revenge on the officers, according to the Chicago Tribune.

"Defendants perhaps confuse 'danger' with whether the private actor needs to actually commit harm to the plaintiffs for a state-created danger theory to apply," Ellis wrote. "If the government throws an individual into a snake pit, and the individual is not harmed by the snakes, but hurts himself escaping the pit, the government has still placed the individual in danger that has caused the individual harm."

Ellis told both parties to finish up discovery in the case by June 1, set a new status hearing date of May 29, and referred them to a magistrate for a settlement conference prior to the hearing, the Chicago Tribune reported.

However, both parties felt it was unlikely they would be able to come to a settlement agreement.

On Jan. 12, 2017, Aurora Police Chief Kristen Ziman announced that a five-year audit of the city’s FOIA processes had been completed, and that there were no other officers affected.

But that was before the city had discovered the release of the retired officer’s information to yet another criminal.

"Once again, I am truly sorry that this happened," Chief Ziman wrote. "I don't pretend to know the challenges that you and your families have faced knowing that personal information was released."

Some of the affected officers installed security systems after they found out their personal information had been released. Some of them actually moved to another home in order to ensure their family’s safety, WGN reported.

Comments (29)
No. 1-29
bronx163
bronx163

They should sue the city, the clerk who gave out their personal info, and the police dept and any clerk who had a hand in giving out info placing these cops family members clear and present danger of being murdered.
There should be a federal law baring any info on a cop and his personal info such as ss#, where they live, dob, relatives info and any cell or phone numbers and google,yahoo, and or any internet site that runs background checks to be bared and placed in jail if they reveal distribute any
Personla info of cop or cops family online or to third parties. FOP should be lobbying congress to do this.
Thats why i say u better carry off duty and have spare ammo on you.
You will never know where bad shit is coming from or when they will strike.

dfnizzi
dfnizzi

Sue the shit out of them! Make them a shining example to other gov't entities of what NOT to do.

Teijeiro2
Teijeiro2

Why hasn't the records manager been arrested for aiding and betting "Identity Theft". If a waitress gives some gang member my Social Security Number, name and address, she would be arrested, WHY NOT THIS BITCH? She must be the Mayor's mistress, or the Sheriff.

Poileas
Poileas

You would be amazed of the Intel network that criminal organizations have already. People that work at the banks, credit bureaus, motor vehicle licensing companies, cable companies, power companies, rental agencies...... It is fuging mind boggling. And the more money they have, they more they can get on us. Thus, REDACT your shyt and stop using social media and credit.

BlackLab
BlackLab

This was no accident it was done on. Purpose. Given the anti cop attitude by a lot of people I don't think these other city employees are any different, in fact they probably thought this criminal should be allowed to go after a cops family. After 30 years in law enforcement and witnessing the attitude by other city employees who are not cops I'm sure this was done with the hope something would happen.

Det_John_Kimble
Det_John_Kimble

Social security numbers? Phone numbers? Addresses? Names of family members?

LostAllSanity
LostAllSanity

If, somehow, the officers lose the case and the actions of the clerk, Jo Ann Osberg, deemed as appropriate, the personal information of Osberg, the City Manager and others should also be released.

gdmn2find8
gdmn2find8

Please tell us that this clerk has been investigated to insure she didn't get paid to provide this information too.

b1rd
b1rd

"The city tried to argue that releasing the files only created a “potential” danger for the police officers and their families."
Thats funny.
I read a case once that the state attorney general had the nerve to argue that it didn't matter that the convicted person could be proven actually innocent since they convicted them using false information. The previous conviction should stand.
Yes you read that correct.

b1rd
b1rd

@LEO0301 The city gave a really stupid reason for asking the court to dismiss the case. Furthermore attorneys usually try to argue some of the stupidest reasons for dismissing cases. Haven't you ever witnessed that?

Commander_Thorn
Commander_Thorn

Yeah it's a bit odd that much info was given to the hoodlum. If FOIA is a right to them, they should get their names and nothing more. Not where they live and phone number. And the family, that's too creepy.

Buzz17
Buzz17

The sheer idiocy of some city officials boggles one's mind!!! It doesn't take a high IQ to figure out that you never, ever give personal information on any officer & his/her family to convicted gang members! Talk about an "uh-duh" moment! How does the city plan to protect these officers & their families??? Beyond belief that something like this would happen. But then, we are talking about Illinois, obamaland.

LAURAL
LAURAL

can't hide behind a badge.

Katarina
Katarina

Either Osberg is a criminal herself, or too stupid to be in public without direct supervision. These officers and their families have had their entire lives affected forever. They all deserve a lifetime of 24/7 security protection.

LEO0301
LEO0301

I may have missed your original point. I'm from Florida. In this state you are prohibited from revealing personal information about police officers.

b1rd
b1rd

@LEO0301 I think it should be that way everywhere. I kinda thought it would be covered by the 74 privacy act. Going to have to look it up and reread it.

b1rd
b1rd

Never mind. Fed level handling.

Marlis
Marlis

Why in the literal hell would they do that? I hope these officers win so big they can retire. Lunacy.

TutsMom
TutsMom

This is outrageous!!! I suggest the the names of all family of the records manager Jo Ann Osberg, address, phone numbers, social security numbers, etc., be released to the press, Facebook, Twitter, and any other social media. See, how legal she feels about that. Disgusting. She should be disbarred.

angryAmerican
angryAmerican

I can't believe the city's argument that essentially, nothing happened yet! So, someone has to be murdered for the officers to have a legitimate suit? What classless morons!

BLSupporter
BLSupporter

I hope the officers break the bank. This is inexcusable, allowing a felon access to someone else's personal information. There has to be a special place in Hell for morons like those.

dennodogg
dennodogg

I hope that they win big,too. The only problem is that the politicians and the hacks won't have to pay, the taxpayers will foot this one too.

UseYourWords
UseYourWords

... Meaning?

Wendh1961
Wendh1961

La

Manlove
Manlove

Millions. The criminals and their families are ALWAYS Awarded Millions. These LEOs deserve it