Wednesday, August 22, 2012

City and Cop sued over false DUI arrests. Settlement reached for $450,000.

A former Chicago police officer who was once lauded for his aggressive DUI arrests by Mothers Against Drunk Drivers turned out to be a fraud.  He had falsified evidence and helped wrongly convict many people of DUI charges.  Now he is paying for it.  Not only costing him his job but now costing the city he works for nearly half a million dollars. It just goes to show you that some police are good and some are bad.  Some police use the power given to them to help and some use it to advance their own agenda and promote themselves.  The more arrests, the more convictions, the more recognition a police officer gets.  That's one way to look at it but it doesn't protect the public and makes good people distrustful of the police.

It looks like this jerk was giving out DUI charges so that he could get overtime going to court!

Here is the article.

Chicago to pay off $450,000 to 2 drivers over false DUI charges.
By: Annie Sweeney

Former Chicago police Officer Richard Fiorito was once honored by Mothers Against Drunk Driving for his aggressive DUI arrests, but he was pulled off street duty three years ago amid allegations that he had falsified dozens of the charges.

After numerous lawsuits, the city has formally agreed to pay the last of the drivers who had alleged wrongdoing by Fiorito. In a judgment entered Monday in federal court, James Dean Jr. was awarded $100,000 in a lawsuit accusing Fiorito of false arrest and malicious prosecution. Four months earlier, the city settled with another motorist for $100,000. The city also agreed to pay lawyers for both drivers a combined $250,000 in legal fees.

The resolution came on the eve of a trial at which Dean's attorneys planned to allege that Fiorito arrested Dean for DUI outside the Town Hall Police District just four minutes after he was freed from the station on unrelated traffic charges. Yet no officers inside the district house believed Dean was drunk when he left, Dean's attorneys contend.  The award to Dean and the earlier settlement by motorist Steve Lopez mark the end to litigation over Fiorito, according to city Law Department spokesman Roderick Drew, who said the city never admitted wrongdoing on Fiorito's part. A separate lawsuit filed against Fiorito in 2009 resulted in an additional $25,000 settlement, Drew said.

In a telephone interview Tuesday evening, Fiorito, 63, stood by all his DUI arrests.  "I don't regret one day of it," he said of his 13 years on the force. He resigned in December.  He also denied allegations he directed racial and other slurs at some of the drivers he arrested for DUI.  "Anybody that says I did is a liar," he said.  Drivers started coming forward with similar stories about Fiorito in 2003, according to attorney Jon Erickson, who brought a number of the lawsuits.  "I remember being astounded by the brazenness of his dishonesty," Erickson said Tuesday.  In court filings, attorneys alleged that Fiorito was motivated to fabricate the arrests by the overtime that he received to attend traffic court.

Erickson said he won not-guilty verdicts for about five drivers arrested for DUI by Fiorito and then tracked down about 40 others who said they had been victimized too.  Several of the complaints came from members of Chicago's gay and lesbian community who felt they had been targeted by Fiorito. He was also accused of using hateful language and slurs against other minority groups, the attorneys said.

Amid a flurry of lawsuits, the Cook County state's attorney's office dropped charges against more than 130 drivers arrested by Fiorito for DUI, and Chicago police removed him from street duty. However, in 2010, county prosecutors refused to prosecute Fiorito, drawing criticism from lawyers for some of the alleged victims.  Some of the motorists had wanted to pursue damages against Fiorito but lost out because they had pleaded guilty to lesser traffic offenses in exchange for the DUI charge being dropped, the attorneys said.  Only Dean and Lopez held out, insisting that they did nothing wrong. "Both refused to take any deal and saw it all the way through to the end," said attorney Torreya Hamilton, who worked with Erickson on the federal lawsuit. "And lucky for them."  Lopez, a truck driver, said it wasn't a hard choice.

Fiorito stopped him five years ago as he was driving home early one morning from a family gathering. With a young family and a two-year-old mortgage, Lopez said his clean driving record meant the world to him. A ticket of any kind would have jeopardized his job and future, said the high school graduate from Brighton Park.  "This is how I provide for my family," Lopez said on his lunch break Tuesday as he stood outside the delivery truck he is currently driving. "I'm a driver. If that's what's on my record, it's like someone gave me a Class X Felony. It's hard to find a good job."

After being charged with the DUI, Lopez had a painful conversation with his boss, who nevertheless still trusted in him. In a sworn statement as part of the lawsuit, Lopez said he had one beer earlier the night of his arrest.  Lopez went to traffic court every month as the case worked its way through the system.  The father of three had earned his commercial driver's license just a month before Fiorito ticketed him, something that would have meant a significant pay boost and greater job opportunities. But immediately after the arrest, the CDL was revoked, and he never got a chance to use it. It has since been restored.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Man in Kansas Busted. Kids tied up outside walmart to protect them from demons.

Ok, now this is just some weird stuff.  It looks like a man and wife will stand trial on criminal charges in Lawrence Kansas after some bizarre behavior.  Adolfo and Deborah Gomez of a small town in Illinois were listening to a preacher on the radio, and somehow became fixated on the idea the world was ending.  They loaded up the family car with their five kids and began a journey that ultimately landed them in Lawrence Kansas.  The couple was found in the store after they had bound two of their children and put duct tape over their eyes, insisting it was to protect them from demons and that the children were possessed.

I have seen some odd behavior but...this is just wild.  Turns out the man hadn't slept in nine days prior to this incident.

Here is the story on CBS News.

(CBS/AP) LAWRENCE, Kan. - A Kansas judge ruled Tuesday that Adolfo and Deborah Gomez will face trial on child abuse charges after two of their children were found tied up outside a Walmart parking lot tied up. A lawyer for the father said he bound the kids to guard against demons.

In a preliminary hearing, Douglas County Judge Paula Martin said there was enough evidence to try Adolfo, 52, and his wife Deborah, 44, on two counts each of child abuse. The father also faces an additional count of obstruction for resisting arrest.  The Illinois couple has been in custody since June 13 when police found two of their children, ages 5 and 7, tied up and with duct tape over their eyes outside a Walmart in Lawrence. The couple's three other children, ages 12, 13 and 15, were in the family's SUV unrestrained. The children are now in protective custody.

Lawrence police Detective Randy Glidewell testified Tuesday that during the arrest, Adolfo told him he was listening to an online preacher who was predicting the end of the world and that a "darkness had come over the house" in Illinois. The family left their suburban home because they thought the world was coming to an end, Gildewell said. The detective also said Adolfo Gomez told him he hadn't slept in nine days, and that Gomez was concerned about one of the younger children because the child was "acting like he was possessed."  "He was scared (the child) would hurt some of the kids," Gildewell said.

Lawrence police officer Hayden Fowler testified that one of the older children told him the family believed there were "demons" in their home and outside their SUV in the parking lot, and that the vehicle's windows were covered to keep the demons out.  Adolfo's lawyer, Skip Griffy, said that blindfolding and binding the younger children was part of the family's religious beliefs, and that it was not done frequently or as a punishment, but as a way to protect the children from demons.  "Their actions were taken out of their religious beliefs, that these children were possessed," Griffy said. He added that the children had no injuries.  Angela Keck, Debora's lawyer, said the woman had no control over her husband.

"She was doing her best to protect herself and her children when Mr. Gomez was having a kind of religious experience," Keck said. "You have not heard anything that these children's lives were in any danger in any way."  Assistant Douglas County District Attorney Debbie Moody argued the "danger to these children was real."  "These types of bindings and blindfolds come into play when you're talking about ... prisoners of war," Moody said.  Moody also added that when Deborah was presented with an opportunity to help, "she went shopping for duct tape, two tarps and a baseball bat," alluding to the list of items police discovered in the mother's shopping cart at Walmart when the children were found.

"It was a team effort, your honor," Moody said. "What happens when kids in the Gomez family are possessed? They get bound and they get blindfolded."