CHICAGO – Chicago aldermen have recommended that the city pay $325,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by a hemophiliac who alleged he was falsely charged with drunken driving and beaten by a police officer while handcuffed.
The City Council's finance committee recommendation Monday was expected to be approved when the full Council meets Wednesday.
The Chicago Sun-Times reported that the aldermen, in voting to settle a lawsuit filed by Julio Martinez after his 2006 arrest, voiced their frustration about how the officer involved continues to draw a city salary despite being stripped of his police powers and pleading guilty to misdemeanor attempted obstruction of justice charges.
"Here we are again in the same situation with an officer who committed a criminal act," said Alderman Willie Cochran, himself a former police officer.
The officer in question, John Haleas, now works in the police department's records division.
For council members, it was a familiar refrain. In recent years as they have agreed to settle police misconduct lawsuits for hundreds of thousands and millions of dollars, they have stood to wonder why the city continues to pay officers who either remain on the city payroll or continue to receive their pensions.
Earlier this year, for example, when they voted to settle one of several lawsuits filed by black murder suspects tortured by detectives under the command of former Lt. Jon Burge, they angrily pointed out that the city continues to pay Burge's pension even after Burge was convicted of lying about the torture.
In the latest case, Haleas was considered a star in the department when it came to making DUI arrests, making more of them than any other police officer in Illinois. According to the Sun-Times, he made 718 DUI arrests in 2005 and 2006 alone. More than 150 of those cases were dismissed after Haleas was accused of falsifying information in those arrests,
He was indicted and in 2008 he was relieved of his police powers. He pleaded guilty four years later to the misdemeanor counts.