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Suffredin: Police chief to retire June 30

Ald. Tom Suffredin (6th) says City Council members have been told by City Manager Erika Storlie that Police Chief Demitrous Cook plans to retire on June 30.

Demitrous Cook. (Barbara Freeman photo)

Ald. Tom Suffredin (6th) says City Council members have been told by City Manager Erika Storlie that Police Chief Demitrous Cook plans to retire on June 30.

Suffredin says Storlie’s message was delivered in an email at 9 p.m. on Friday evening.

Cook, Storlie and several other city officials so far have not responded to Evanston Now inquiries about the chief’s future.

The Evanston RoundTable reported Sunday that the Evanston chapter of the NAACP was holding a special meeting Sunday afternoon to discuss reports that Storlie had demanded Cook’s resignation, reportedly claiming that it was the will of the Council that he leave.

The NAACP chapter president, the Rev. Michael Nabors of Second Baptist Church, has not responded to an Evanston Now call seeking comment on that report.

Demitrous Cook was named Evanston’s police chief in December 2018 by then City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz and was sworn in as chief the following month.

He had spent 26 years on the Evanston police force, including six as deputy chief, before leaving to become chief of the south suburban Glenwood Police Department in 2010.

The hiring of Cook, who had deep ties to the community from his years in Evanston, was welcomed by many residents, and he cemented his image as a person with ties to the historically Black 5th Ward by buying the home of the late former mayor, Lorraine Morton, at 2102 Darrow Ave.

Cook came under fire and had to call a news conference to apologize for an incident early last year in which he accidentally posted to the social media app Snapchat images of about 30 people who were under suspicion in a criminal investigation.

The City Council recently approved a $90,000 settlement in a lawsuit brought by several men whose mugshots the chief had posted, and Ald. Tom Suffredin (6th) said several other suits stemming from that incident have brought the total settlement costs to more than $130,000.

More recently the chief was criticized by activists over calling in officers from the regional Northern Illinois Police Alarm System to deal with protests by a group that was demanding that Northwestern University disband its police force, including a Halloween Night 2020 demonstration downtown that turned violent.

Cook said that, in contrast to many peaceful protests earlier in the year, some students at the Halloween protest and at ones that took place at the home of Northwestern University President Morton Schapiro “wanted to create havoc in our town” and that calling in the NIPAS officers was appropriate and necessary.

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