Monday, May 07, 2012
Jefferson Tap police beating case begins in federal court - It wasn't a BEATING - It was a fight with some pussy yuppies! That the yuppies STARTED!
Since 2006, a drunken, videotaped brawl at the Jefferson Tap & Grille has embroiled Chicago Police officers in a legal battle. And Monday began another chapter, this one in federal court.
Four businessmen who say they were attacked by off-duty Chicago Police officers are suing the officers and the City of Chicago, saying they were beaten and the department did nothing to stop it.
Three officers cleared of the conduct by a criminal courts judge in 2009 are being sued — along with nine others.
Dramatically different versions of events were spelled out Monday for the jury. Plaintiffs’ attorney Christopher Smith meticulously walked through a videotape of the night of Dec. 15, 2006, at the Jefferson Tap & Grille, 325 N. Jefferson.
Smith went frame by frame, telling jurors that the plaintiffs, including brothers Barry and Aaron Gilfand, were out playing pool when the cops picked a fight.
“This is a good night for these guys,” Smith told jurors. “They’re just so into themselves. They’re having a good time.”
Brian Gainer, who represents several of the officers, said Officer Paul Powers was upset because his father had just died. Powers had a weapon with him but video shows another officer taking it away. He was emotional and walked over to the jukebox when one of the businessmen called him a “p----.”
In a recent court filing, Powers said he had his gun with him because “it was part of my routine.” Another officer took his gun from him because he recognized Powers was distraught over the loss of his father, who died months earlier, he said.
“These individuals were verbally and physically provoked repeatedly,” Gainer said.
In 2009, a Cook County judge cleared Sgt. Jeffery Planey and officers Powers and Gregory Barnes. In a 30-page ruling, Judge Thomas Gainer Jr. said Planey was “firm and forceful,” but was trying to keep the scuffle from escalating. The officers only engaged in “mutual combat,’’ Gainer said. It was initiated by members of the Gilfands’ group who mocked Powers for crying about his deceased father, called him a “p----” and cried out, “F - - - him, he needs to have his ass kicked,” Gainer said.
“This was not an ambush, an unprovoked attack by angry, drunken, off-duty police officers,’’ the judge ruled. “The actions . . . were in response to fighting words.”
Attorney Lori Lightfoot mockingly questioned the plaintiffs’ contention that they were innocent bystanders.
“Choir boys. Unprovoked. Unknown assailants attacked them for no reason … preying upon unsuspecting, private citizens.” she said, her voice dripping with sarcasm. She said there was one thing for jurors to remember: “They were all drunk that night.”