Winnebago County States Attorney Paul Logli said he has no plans to interview individuals directly involved in a possible witness tampering case, even though the decision is based on second-hand sources
rather than individuals directly involved in the incidentnamely retired Rockford Police Deputy Chief John Genens and the brother of retired Winnebago County Sheriffs Deputy Rob Humphries.
The incident stems from Rob Humphries expected testimony in a police hearing concerning the possible termination of suspended Rockford Police Officer Steve
Johnson (see July 2 police article). The city
presented its side of the case to fire Johnson June 30 that has since been surrounded in controversy. The hearing is scheduled to reconvene Aug. 21.
Last weeks article identified Humphries as the expert witness on the execution of arrest warrants who is expected to testify on behalf of Johnson. Humphries appearance at the Public Safety Building to
address several issues with police administrators June 27 reportedly resulted in Genens sudden retirement June 30. Genens retired rather than face an internal affairs
investigation about his contact with Humphries relatives.
The article also described Rockford Police Chief Steve Pughs version of a series of messages that involved Genens, Humphries, Humphries son and Humphries brother.
Pugh said as he understood the sequence of events, Genens placed one initial call to Humphries brother, who passed the message to Humphries son, who gave the message to Humphries. After learning about the call, Pugh said he advised Genens to contact the brother and ask him to not call Humphries.
However, according to Pugh, by the time the second call was made by Genens, Humphries had already received the message from Humphries son. The message
Genens gave to Humphries brother, Pugh said, was that Humphries testimony at the hearing could get him in trouble with the county, which may affect Humphries
part-time employment with the county.
The article also described sources alternative version of the incident that alleged Genens made two calls: one to Humphries brother and one to Humphries son. Both sources for that version said late last week that Pughs version was correct.
Also, the sources now say they arent sure if a second call was made by Genens to Humphries son but couldnt rule out that it wasnt. After speaking with his son, Humphries said his son was not interested in commenting about this article.
Genens did not return messages left at his home. When contacted by phone, Humphries brother said he would not comment and hung up. Humphries said he couldnt comment because he wanted to be fair to both sides at the hearing.
Logli initially said that based on information he received, Genens actions did not constitute an attempt to witness tamper. When asked, Logli initially refused to identify his sources. Logli later identified the sources as Rob Humphries and Rockford police officials. Logli also said he called Rob Humphries for information, but not Humphries brother.
Loglis active pursuit to discover what Rob Humphries knew of the incident was not applied in a similar manner to learn Genens and Humphries brothers
version of the incidentthe individuals directly involved. When asked why Logli would not interview Genens or Humphries brother, Logli repeated statements given to other media that no one has stepped forward to complain.
Logli also said he would not review closed session transcripts of the June 30 hearing but wouldnt say why. Sources said Genens phone call to Humphries brother was the primary subject of the closed session. Review of the transcripts may reveal reasons why Genens intervened in the Johnson case.
When asked, Logli said he didnt know how Genens learned Humphries was scheduled to testify.
Reportedly, Genens is married to Humphries sister. How Genens relationship with Humphries by marriage factored into Genens knowledge of Humphries impending testimony is not known.
Officer Johnsons father, Rockford Alderman and Winnebago County Clerk Dave Johnson (R-4), continues his investigation of Rockford police. Alderman Johnson
said he has specific information about police administration conduct that he is willing to give to either an independent investigator or internal affairs once his investigation is complete.
Police officials have asked Johnson to immediately turn his evidence over to either the local FBI office, state police or internal affairs. Johnson has publicly
expressed a lack of confidence in both the state police and FBI because of their close relationships with the Rockford Police Department.