Tiawanda Moore discretely turned on her BlackBerry recorder as two Chicago police internal affairs investigators were trying to talk her into dropping her sexual harassment complaint against a patrol officer.
Moore claimed that the patrol officer who answered the domestic disturbance call at her home had fondled her and given her his personal phone number.
She hoped to use her recording to prove that two other officers were trying to persuade her to drop her complaint, but instead, her recording had her charged with illegal eavesdropping.
On Wednesday,a Criminal Court jury quickly repudiated the
prosecution’s case, taking less than an hour to acquit Moore on both
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. If the victim is a law enforcement officer, the potential penalties increase sharply — up to 15 years in prison, the maximum sentence Moore faced if she had been convicted.
The surreptitious recording made by Moore proved crucial for the jury, which heard the four-minute snippet during the trial and replayed it during the deliberations.
“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.
*Reported by the Chicago Tribune’s Jason Meisner