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Investigation Finds Campus Cop Broke with Procedure in February Incident but Officers Didn’t Use Excessive Force

Christopher Hacker | The PHOENIXLoyola Campus Safety’s Rogers Park office is pictured.

A consultant hired by Loyola to investigate a February incident in which two Loyola students were detained by Campus Safety officers has concluded the officers didn’t use excessive force, but one officer used “inappropriate control techniques” against one of the students by grabbing her by the shirt and yanking her toward a wall.

Click here to view the full report.

The consultant — Hillard Heintze, LLC, founded by former Chicago police Superintendent Terry Hillard and the former head of the Secret Service in Chicago, Arnette Heintze — also issued a series of recommendations for Campus Safety including the use of body cameras, better security camera placement and increased transparency and training.

The report, and the creation of a “task force” comprised of independent experts and Loyola faculty, staff and students aimed at improving student-police relations, came in response to an incident on Feb. 24.

That’s when Alan Campbell and Paloma Fernandez, both Loyola seniors at the time, were in the Damen Student Center protesting Loyola’s decision to spend money on a new athletics facility.

They saw Campus Safety officers searching two black men, who had allegedly been scalping tickets outside a Loyola men’s basketball game, and Campbell approached the officers, claiming the men were being racially profiled, according to the report.

The report said Campbell ignored one of the officer’s orders to back away and identify himself as a Loyola student. At that point, Officer Bruce McCree “decided to … take him into custody,” the report said.

While McCree and two other officers handcuffed Campbell and brought him to the ground, the report said one of the officers, Joseph Pulido, dropped his glasses. Fernandez, who was among the protestors, kicked Pulido’s glasses, according to the report. Cell phone video of the incident shows Pulido grabbing Fernandez by her shirt collar and yanking her toward a wall.

Campbell was placed in a Campus Safety squad car and later released without being charged with a crime, and Fernandez was released shortly after speaking with officers.

The report includes conflicting accounts of the incident from Loyola students, administrators and Campus Safety officers.

The incident sparked several days of on-campus demonstrations and eventually a federal civil rights lawsuit against the university by Campbell and Fernandez. The Phoenix is named as a defendant in the lawsuit, which is still pending.

An attorney for Campbell and Fernandez didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Loyola hired Hillard Heintze, an investigative and security consulting firm, to review the incident in March. Loyola president Jo Ann Rooney also announced the creation of the task force to review the incident.

Hillard Heintze declined to comment and referred The Phoenix to the university.

The report concluded the officers didn’t racially profile the alleged scalpers and didn’t use excessive force when detaining Campbell. But it did conclude Pulido violated Loyola policies in his handling of Fernandez.

It’s unclear whether Pulido has faced or will face discipline, and whether the report will impact the lawsuit. 

The Hillard Heintze report also included several recommendations for Campus Safety to avoid a similar incident in the future.

It suggested Campus Safety require officers wear body cameras — something Rooney said will begin in the fall. It said Campus Safety should provide additional training, increase security camera coverage — the report said much of the incident was obscured from surveillance video — and take steps to “further transparency and accountability regarding complaints against Campus Safety officers.”

Both the university and Campus Safety didn’t respond to requests for additional comment, but Loyola issued a written statement that said, in part, that the recommendations are being reviewed and, “Our goal remains focused on building a campus of inclusion, safety, and diversity.”

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