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Couple sue police officer, others after nightclub attack
by Matt Simonette
2018-11-17

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A gay Chicago couple is continuing their civil lawsuit against a Chicago Police Department ( CPD ) officer, an Oak Park police officer and two others after they allegedly assaulted the couple in front of the @mosphere bar in Andersonville on Sept. 29. @mosphere is also named in the suit.

According to an amended complaint filed Nov. 8, John Sherwood and Tomasz Stacha were attacked by CPD officer Eric Elkins, and Oak Park Police Department officer Dwayne Jones as well as Jeffrey Rodriguez and Giovanni Rodriguez at the nightclub.

"They're recovering," said the couple's lawyer, Tim Cavanagh. "John sustained a very serious fracture of bone in his leg—the bones were sticking out of the skin. He had to have surgery and was in a surgery for a very lengthy period of time."

After the event, news trickled out that Elkins had a history of legal problems; a Chicago Sun-Times article detailed incidents where he was first accused in 2003 of having sex with a minor—a charge he was cleared of—and, in 2015, when he was accused of touching the penis of a teenager in Michigan. He pled guilty to a lesser charge and has been on CPD desk duty since, while the department investigates.

"I've handled cases like this in the past, and obtained a $20-million settlement against the City of Chicago for a police officer who had killed two boys drinking and driving," noted Cavanagh. "It's not beyond me to understand that the police have some bad apples, and that the 'code of silence' allows police officers to get breaks that seem to fester. That was what happened here—this guy had a criminal history, the police department knew about it and he should have been fired. … He was arrested two times and the only [CPD] punishment we know about was that he was put on desk duty."

Sherwood and Stacha "want to make sure that this doesn't happen to anybody else," he added. "They were very dismayed and troubled to find out that a Chicago police sergeant and an Oak Park police officer were involved in this."


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