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Charges Dropped For Woman Who Recorded The Police
Frustrated, Tiawanda Moore quietly flipped on the recorder on her BlackBerry as she believed that two Chicago police internal affairs investigators were trying to talk her into dropping her sexual harassment complaint against a patrol officer.
But Moore was the one who ended up in trouble — criminally charged with violating an obscure state eavesdropping law that makes audio recording of police officers without their consent a felony offense.
On Wednesday, though, a Criminal Court jury quickly repudiated the prosecution’s case, taking less than an hour to acquit Moore on both eavesdropping counts.
“The two cops came across as intimidating and insensitive,” said one juror, Ray Adams, 57, a pharmacist from the western suburbs. “Everybody thought it was just a waste of time and that (Moore) never should have been charged.”
The case against Moore as well as pending charges against a Chicago artist have drawn the attention of civil libertarians who argue that the state’s eavesdropping law is unconstitutional.
Illinois is one of only a handful of states that make it illegal to record audio of public conversations without the permission of everyone involved.
In the recording, which the one juror said was replayed several times in the jury room, Alejo was heard explaining to Moore that she might be wasting her time because it was basically her word against that of the patrol officer. Alejo also said they could “almost guarantee” that the officer would never bother her again if she dropped the complaint.
“When we heard that, everyone (on the jury) just shook their head,” juror Adams said in a telephone interview. “If what those two investigators were doing wasn’t criminal, we felt it bordered on criminal, and she had the right to record it.”
Moore alleged that the patrol officer who answered the domestic disturbance call at her home had fondled her and given her his personal phone number.
Moore, 20, who testified tearfully in her own defense, said she was “still shaking” following the verdict at how close she came to prison.
“If I would have known I was going to get in trouble, I might never have come in and filed the complaint in the first place,” she said.