Family in teen disappearance raps cops

Family and friends of a 15-year-old girl who disappeared in January filed a complaint yesterday accusing the police of botching the investigation into her whereabouts.

"It is possible that the police compromised the evidence of this case in the initial stages of the investigation," says  Rev. Ira Acree, a relative of the girl, Yasmin Acree.

Yasmin's family believes she was kidnapped from her Austin home Jan. 15. Yasmin's mother, Rose Starnes found doors kicked in at the house, as well as a broken lock.

"I was at Yasmin's home on January 17 and I saw the padlock in question. We said then that it should not have been on the premises but in the possession of the police department," says Rev. Marshall Hatch, of the Leaders Network.

Also at issue is the reassignment of the detectives who initially worked on the case. The family contends hampered the investigation.

Family members gathered yesterday outside police headquarters to demand progress in the case, and to file a complaint with the Independent Police Review Authority.

IPRA, which conducts investigations of allegations involving police brutality, is referring the complaint to the police department's Internal Affairs Division.

Police spokeswoman Monique Bond defends the department's work on the case, saying officers have invested thousands of hours in finding Yasmin.

"It's exhaustive. We're doing everything that we can. We hope to find her," Bond says.

The Acree's complaint came on the heels of a high-profile spate of violence at the Taste of Chicago, and an announcement that murder rates are on the rise.

Some alderman have been critical of police Superintendent Jody P. Weis' performance. He is scheduled to appear before a City Council committee today to discuss his handling of Taste of Chicago, as well as his decision to replace several top police commanders.