A Chicago police officer is facing felony charges after a March 1 incident in which he allegedly attacked several officers from Forest Park and spit in the face of a local paramedic.
According to a statement released by the village, Richard T. Schmidt, 25, was off-duty when local authorities were called to Slainte, a Madison Street tavern, to remove Schmidt from the bar. Witnesses reported that Schmidt was intentionally launching himself into tables with the purpose of breaking them.
Once in custody at the station, Schmidt allegedly became combative and elbowed one officer in the face and then attacked a police sergeant. Authorities then used an electronic stun gun to subdue the off-duty Chicago officer.
A paramedic called to the station to treat any injuries received a face full of spittle from Schmidt, according to the village.
Schmidt was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment where it was determined that his blood-alcohol level was above the legal limit, had he been driving a vehicle. Village officials did not release a copy of Schmidt’s arrest report, saying they were withholding the document at the request of city investigators.
Cook County prosecutors approved four counts of aggravated battery against Schmidt, all of which are felonies. He is also facing a misdemeanor count for the property damage he allegedly caused to the tables at the tavern.
The story has received notable attention in the metropolitan dailies as it is the first case of alleged police misconduct since Supt. Jody Weis took the top job in the Chicago Police Department last month.
Departments respond to brawl
Officers from four police departments were needed to clear an all-out brawl involving more than two dozen patrons at Molly Malone’s on Madison Street. The altercation occurred at about 2:30 a.m. March 1, and when Forest Park police arrived, they immediately radioed for backup.
Some 30 people were throwing beer bottles, punching, pushing and knocking over chairs at the tavern, according to a police report. One individual was stunned with a Taser, however, the device appeared to have no effect on the man and he continued to brawl with the crowd. Another subject involved in the fight, identified only as Chris, claimed he was a Cook County sheriff.
With the assistance of officers from Oak Park, River Forest and Maywood, authorities were able to clear the establishment. However, police received little cooperation in sorting out how the ordeal started and whether there were any serious injuries. Local police made only a single arrest in the incident after learning that one of the subjects was wanted on an outstanding warrant from DuPage County.
Driver has ‘waaaay too much’
A LaGrange man caught spinning his car in circles on Madison Street before heading the wrong way on a one-way street was arrested for driving under the influence, and allegedly told police he had been drinking heavily.
Shortly before 2 a.m. on Feb. 29, Levi Villanueva was pulled over on Elgin Avenue and immediately displayed several of the telltale signs of intoxication, according to a department report. When asked to step out of his car, police noticed “a wet spot surrounding his pants zipper,” prompting the question of how much alcohol Villanueva, 28, had consumed.
“Villanueva responded, ‘Waaaay too much,'” according to the report.
After failing a field sobriety test, the suspect was taken into custody and given a Breathalyzer exam. His alleged blood-alcohol level of .231 far exceeds the legal limit of .08.
Villanueva was charged with driving under the influence, driving the wrong way on a one-way street, improper lane usage, and fleeing the scene of an accident that allegedly occurred moments before officers spotted him on Madison Street.
Store owner cited for conduct
A local business owner was arrested on disorderly conduct charges after her allegedly belligerent behavior at a restaurant spilled out onto the street. Lisa Tobias, 42, of Chicago, was taken into custody shortly after 10 p.m. on Feb. 23.
According to a department report, Tobias, the owner of At 75 Eleven on Madison Street, was intoxicated when employees at Francesca’s restaurant asked her to leave. Tobias allegedly refused, then shoved the employee in the chest. When police arrived at the scene, Tobias was walking west along Madison Street and was yelling at someone else. Officers immediately noticed the smell of alcohol and reported that she was “very confrontational and belligerent.”
She initially refused to show any identification and upon being taken into custody, Tobias allegedly threatened to sue the officer as she berated him. The restaurant manager declined to press charges, but authorities cited her for public intoxication and disorderly conduct, both local ordinance violations.
These items were taken from the records of the Forest Park Police Department between Feb.23 and Mar. 1, 2008, and represent only a portion of the incidents to which police responded. Anyone named in this report has only been charged with a crime. The cases have not been adjudicated.
-Compiled by Josh Adams