Chicago cop sues Forest Park police department

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By Josh Adams

First reported 3/1/2010 7:32 p.m.

An off-duty Chicago police officer arrested two years ago for allegedly smashing tables at a bar on Madison Street and assaulting local police officers has filed a federal suit against the village's police department claiming he was brutalized during the arrest.

Richard Schmidt, who worked in the city's 7th District at the time of his arrest, is accusing four officers of kicking and punching him, and shocking him with a stun gun. The alleged attack, which was March 1, 2008, was unprovoked and without cause, according to Schmidt's complaint. The complaint was filed in U.S. District Court on Feb. 9.

Schmidt claims he was rendered unconscious by the repeated blows, and that an electronic stun gun was used more than seven times on his lower back and left leg. At the time of his arrest, Schmidt had been taken to Rush Oak Park Hospital for treatment.

"As a result of the incident, plaintiff was hospitalized, suffered great bodily injury, pain and mental anguish and will continue to suffer in the future," attorneys for Schmidt said in their complaint.

The Miller Law Group in Hinsdale is representing Schmidt in the civil case. Jennifer Kunze, one of the firm's lawyers, said Monday that she was not prepared to comment on the matter.

In the federal case, Schmidt identifies himself as an employee of the Chicago Police Department. However, in the days immediately following Schmidt's arrest in 2008, Chicago Police Superintendent Jody Weis said that Schmidt had been relieved of his duties.

Criminal charges related to his arrest are still pending, and Schmidt was scheduled to appear in Cook County Circuit Court in Maywood on Wednesday, March 3. The state's attorney has handed Schmidt's case to the Illinois Attorney General's office because Schmidt's father is an investigator for the county prosecutor.

Schmidt is facing seven felony charges, including aggravated battery to a police officer and resisting arrest.

"We have the case at the request of the Cook County state's attorney because of a conflict," Robyn Ziegler, a spokeswoman for the attorney general, said.

Schmidt was arrested during a weekend celebration of St. Patrick's Day. According to Forest Park police, Schmidt was intoxicated and launching himself into tables at Slainte, an Irish pub at 7505 Madison St. While he was in custody at the station, Schmidt allegedly became combative and elbowed one officer in the face, and then attacked a sergeant. Forest Park police acknowledged using a stun gun to subdue him.

A paramedic was called to the police station to treat any injuries that Schmidt, who was 25 at the time of his arrest, may have suffered. According to local authorities, he spit in the paramedic's face.

Forest Park Police Chief Jim Ryan, who is also named as a defendant in the civil case, said he expects the village's attorneys to ask the federal court to wait to hear the civil case until the criminal charges have been resolved.

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