Shareholder Brian P. Gainer obtained a not guilty verdict in a recent Chicago municipal liability case tried in federal court. Mr. Gainer defended two Chicago police officers against claims of excessive force, false arrest and malicious prosecution. The officers in this incident heard gunshots in an area of the City’s south side, and then observed a large crowd and fight between a man and woman near the area of the shots.
The plaintiff claimed that he was approached by one defendant officer, punched in the face without provocation, arrested for no reason, and then tasered by the second defendant officer while handcuffed and compliant. The defendant officers denied these allegations and claimed that the plaintiff approached them, grabbed one of the officers by the shoulder and would not let go, even after being told the defendant was a police officer and that he should immediately let go and leave the area. Eventually the police officer being held by the plaintiff punched the plaintiff to free himself from the plaintiff’s grip, and the second officer deployed his Taser ineffectively in an attempt to get the plaintiff under control and under arrest. Ultimately, the plaintiff was arrested and charged with Aggravated Battery to a Police Officer and Resisting Arrest. The plaintiff was acquitted in criminal court, and he filed this civil action against the defendant officers.
The case was tried in the Northern District of Illinois over a five-day period. After two hours of deliberations, the jury returned a verdict that was completely in the defendants’ favor.