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Chicago to pay $185,000 to settle case involving beating allegedly administered by off-duty police officers and covered up by on-duty colleagues
Chicago will pay $185,000 to a pair of University of Chicago scholars beaten in the parking lot of a fast-food restaurant by two men the victims claim were off-duty Chicago Police officers, under a settlement advanced Monday by a City Council committee.
Matthew Clark and Gregory Malandrucco have maintained that the brutal Feb, 2010 altercation at Arturo’s Tacos, 2001 N. Western that left them both with broken noses was unprovoked.
They claim Malandrucco was putting on his coat when he inadvertently bumped one of the attackers.
An unidentified woman who accompanied the attackers claimed they were off-duty Chicago Police officers and a surveillance video showed one of the attackers with, what appears to be a gun stuck in his pants.
But even after devoting “hundreds of hours to the task of identifying whether the unknown combatants were off-duty police officers,” First Deputy Corporation Counsel Leslie Darling said the Independent Police Review Authority has, so far, failed to identify the aggressors.
Still, Darling told the Finance Committee that a series of factors drove the city to settle the case.
Police officers responding to the incident were shown in a parking lot surveillance video “escorting the unknown parties to their car and allowing them to drive away,” which the plaintiffs call a “professional courtesy being extended by the responding officers,” Darling said.
“While the on-duty defendant officers are adamant that they were diffusing the situation by sending these allegedly intoxicated and belligerent mutual combatants home, the officers did not document the incident at all, a fact that could prejudice the jury against the city,” she said.
Another factor that could negatively impact the city’s case, Darling said, is the fact that the on-duty responding officers “did not summon medical attention, despite the plaintiffs’ obvious physical injuries.”
A supervising sergeant who arrived at Clark’s apartment to follow up on a 911 call complaining about a lack of police service
“immediately called for an ambulance,” she said.
Clark and Malandrucco were later treated for “broken noses, bumps and bruises and received stitches in their heads,” Darling said.
“Finally, the city’s case would be negatively affected by the responding paramedics’ decision not to document the plaintiffs’ statement that the injures were allegedly caused by off-duty officer,” she said.
The IPRA investigation remains open. The agency expects to issue a report shortly on the conduct of the on-duty responding officers.
Darling noted that the $185,000 settlement was a “substantial reduction” from the $900,000 originally demanded.
Apparently referring to the fact that Clark has a PhD and Malandrucco was close to getting his doctorate when the alleged attack occurred, she said, “The plaintiffs are highly-educated and present well. Their accounts of what took place would be supported by the parking lot surveillance video. In addition, the photos of their bloody faces and clothes will make an impact on the jury, even though neither suffered serious or permanent injury.”