Local Editorials

Learn from Quilici saga

The legal saga of former Richmond police officer Brian Quilici is almost over.

But the lessons from this case for municipalities and police departments should not be forgotten.

A federal civil jury this week ruled against Quilici and the village of Richmond in awarding Ryan Hallett $450,000 for injuries that Hallett suffered at the hands of Quilici and two other now former police officers.

Quilici was convicted in 2006 of five felonies in the February 2005 attack on Hallett outside a Fox Lake bar. Quilici and the other two officers, Ronald Pilati and Jerome Volstad, got into an argument with Hallett inside the bar before following him outside. Hallett then was handcuffed, beaten and kicked in the face.

Pilati and Volstad eventually pleaded guilty to misdemeanors for their roles in the case after a judge threw out felony convictions.

Fox Lake police originally recommended that charges be filed against Hallett, who suffered a broken facial bone and required multiple surgeries.

But after the Northwest Herald publicized Hallett’s accusations, McHenry County Sheriff Keith Nygren asked State Police to conduct a separate investigation. State Police recommended charges against Quilici and the other officers, and Bianchi agreed. No charges were filed against Hallett.

The village of Richmond hired and retained Quilici as a part-time police officer despite his numerous previous run-ins with the law. As the Hallett case unfolded, a Northwest Herald investigation uncovered several police reports in which Quilici was accused of harassment, battery and disorderly conduct.

No charges were filed against Quilici in those prior incidents, but his bosses were aware of at least some of them. And now the village is on the hook for a significant portion of the $450,000 jury award.

Every profession has its bad apples. And like other professions, law enforcement needs to be vigilant in weeding out its own.

Unfortunately for Richmond and, more significantly, for Hallett, Quilici wasn’t weeded out early enough.

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