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Logli: No witness tampering

July 1, 1993

Winnebago County State’s 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 incident—namely retired Rockford Police Deputy Chief John Genens and the brother of retired Winnebago County Sheriff’s 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 week’s 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 Pugh’s 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 Pugh’s version was correct.

Also, the sources now say they aren’t sure if a second call was made by Genens to Humphries’ son but couldn’t rule out that it wasn’t. 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 couldn’t 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.

Logli’s active pursuit to discover what Rob Humphries knew of the incident was not applied in a similar manner to learn Genens’ and Humphries’ brother’s

version of the incident–the 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 wouldn’t 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 didn’t 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 Johnson’s 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.

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