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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Plaintiffs allege anti-gay bias by cop in lawsuit
2009-03-04

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Two Chicago men have filed lawsuits in federal court, alleging that Chicago Police Officer Richard Fiorito falsified DUI charges and made up police reports as part of the officer's ongoing scheme to rake in overtime pay for court appearances.

James Dean, Jr., and Shawn Rauch joined Susan Kolineck, who filed a similar suit several weeks ago, in claiming that in addition to money, Fiorito is motivated by anti-gay prejudice. Dean, Rauch and Kolineck all claim Fiorito made disparaging remarks about their sexual orientation and say that the cop targets gays.

"He grabbed Rauch's throat, slammed him up against the wall and called him a faggot," said Jon F. Erickson, attorney for the three plaintiffs.

According to a statement issued by Erickson, Fiorito consistently ranks near the top of the list for DUI arrests for all Illinois cops. Citing a report by the Alliance Against Drunk Drivers, the release stated that Fiorito made 230 DUI arrests in 2006. Chicago police officers are paid time and a half for time spent in court for DUI arrests.

"These cases are just the tip of the iceberg," says Erickson. "This has been going on for years and it's time to put a stop to it.

"I have received innumerable accounts from gay people in the Lakeview area who all tell the same story: anti-gay slurs, abusive behavior and trumped-up charges."

Dean's and Rauch's complaints against Fiorello and the city allege, among other things, illegal search and seizure, malicious prosecution, false imprisonment and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Recently, Erickson represented Alexander Ruppert, who said he was arrested and beaten by Chicago police because he was gay. City attorneys settled with Ruppert late last year.


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