WATCH: 2 Chicago Cops Resign in Face of Firing Over Off-Duty Beating a Decade Ago

December 9 2016

Two Chicago police officers have resigned in the face of their firing over the off-duty beating of a restaurant patron on the Northwest Side more than a decade ago.

Brian Murphy and Jason Orsa, both 12-year department veterans, stepped down effective Dec. 1, said police spokesman Frank Giancamilli.

Their resignations came a little more than a week after the Illinois Supreme Court denied an appeal of their dismissals and before the Chicago Police Board could move to fire them as soon as its monthly meeting Thursday night.

Even though the police board had originally dismissed the two officers in January 2011, both still remained on the force more than a decade after the incident because a Cook County judge had overturned their firings in 2012. They were reinstated on the force and given back pay.

Murphy, Orsa and another officer, Daniel McNamara, had allegedly just been drinking at a nearby bar when they went to eat at the Taco Burrito King restaurant at Higgins and Harlem avenues during the early morning of March 24, 2006. The trio, along with a Marine friend who had just returned from Iraq, were sitting at a table when Obed “OJ” DeLeon walked inside the restaurant and complained about a car blocking the parking lot.

Two Chicago cops face firing decade after off-duty beating captured on video
Murphy jumped up from his seat, pointed his pistol at DeLeon’s head and shoved him against a wall, surveillance video shows.

Orsa, McNamara and their friend also joined in. DeLeon was punched, knocked down twice, kicked, hit and held facedown on the floor of the crowded restaurant. His shirt was ripped off, revealing gang tattoos on his body.

Five years later, the police board fired Murphy and Orsa after two eyewitnesses and video confirmed they had started the fight.

Cook County Judge Kathleen Pantle reversed the board’s decision, pointing to the delayed, four-year investigation by Chicago’s police oversight agency, saying the officers were unable to track witnesses closer to the time of the attack. She also blasted DeLeon as a gang member.

But in August, a three-judge panel of an Illinois appeals court upheld the dismissals, noting that Murphy could have been fired just for pulling out his weapon “unprovoked” in the restaurant.

The court held that Orsa had repeatedly and unjustifiably kicked DeLeon and that the two officers attempted to cover up what happened. The court also rejected their contention during the police board hearing that DeLeon started the conflict by yelling the gang slogans and boasting he was a cop killer.

A front-page Tribune article about the appeals court reversal quoted two eyewitnesses who were also arrested as expressing surprise to learn from a reporter that both officers were still then on the force.

The officers appealed to the state Supreme Court, but it was denied Nov. 23, according to a spokesman for the court and Max Caproni, the police board’s executive director.

In its original ruling in 2011, the police board found insufficient evidence to prove McNamara took part in the beating but suspended him for 18 months for failing to tell supervisors of his and the other officers’ involvement in the altercation.

The board also gave one of two sergeants who responded to the restaurant, Louis Danielson, a six-month suspension for not going inside the restaurant or trying to find out who had a gun.

But the city dropped Danielson’s suspension after Murphy and Orsa won their jobs back, clearing his record and awarding him back pay. After the appellate court reversed the judge’s decision, however, the city chose not to pursue Danielson’s suspension, said Giancamilli, the police spokesman.

A few days after the beating, DeLeon lodged a complaint against the police. But it wasn’t until a year later that the officers were questioned by investigators for the Independent Police Review Authority, Chicago’s much-maligned agency that investigates the most serious allegations of police misconduct. In those interviews, the officers alleged for the first time that DeLeon had threatened police and yelled gang slogans in the restaurant.

Eighteen more months passed before IPRA tried to interview the sergeant who approved the criminal charges against DeLeon and two eyewitnesses, but he had retired by then, records show.

Records also show the IPRA investigation limped along for years. One investigator asked supervisors for extensions on deadlines at least 23 times, according to the records.

Finally, in 2010, four years after the incident, then-police Superintendent Jody Weis brought formal administrative charges against the officers, seeking their dismissal, before the police board.

Source: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-chicago-police-taco-burrito-beating-met-20161208-story.html

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Filming Cops
Filming Cops 4757 posts

Filming Cops was started in 2010 as a conglomerative blogging service documenting police abuse. The aim isn’t to demonize the natural concept of security provision as such, but to highlight specific cases of State-monopolized police brutality that are otherwise ignored by traditional media outlets.

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