A Chicago man has accepted a $4,900 settlement from the village of Forest Park in return for dropping a federal lawsuit claiming his civil rights were violated by three Forest Park police officers during a search of his vehicle following a traffic stop in the village in September.
The settlement was approved unanimously by the Forest Park Village Council on Monday. The $4,900, which includes legal fees, will be paid through the village’s insurance.
Darien Ward filed the suit in January against the village and officers Jack Reilly and Adam Stasinopoulos, and Sgt. Eric Bell of the Forest Park Police Department.
According to terms of the settlement, the village and others named in the suit do not admit liability or wrongdoing.
“We have reached a settlement that addresses the best interests of all involved,” Village Administrator Tim Gillian said, noting continuing to trial would have cost the village more than $4,900 in legal fees even if the suit had been successful.
The agreement includes a confidentiality clause limiting comments by Ward. Under the clause, for which the village will pay an additional $100, Ward agrees to keep the terms of the agreement confidential other than to state the matter has been resolved.
According to documents related to the settlement, Reilly and Stasinopoulos stopped Ward at 4:30 p.m., Sept. 15, at 7740 W. Roosevelt Road, reportedly for not using a proper turn signal. The officers reportedly became suspicious and asked that they be assisted by a supervisor. After Bell arrived, they searched the vehicle for narcotics but found none. During the incident, Ward was placed in handcuffs and placed in a squad car because he was not cooperative and officers were concerned that he might fight or flee, according to the documents.
The lawsuit alleges the search was unreasonable.
Robert J. Lifka