A 26-year-old African-American man has filed a federal lawsuit against the estate of Fox Lake Police Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz, claiming the now-deceased officer subjected him to months of harassment and intimidation.
“We have witnesses and those witnesses are going to come forward . . . ” Kevin O’Connor, the attorney representing Vernon Randolph III, told reporters in the lobby of the Dirksen Federal Building. “This is a repeated pattern that was going on over the course of about a year.”
Randolph, 26, had been expected to appear with his attorney, but O’Connor said his client was in the hospital, suffering from “anxiety and stress.”
Last week the image of Gliniewicz as a gung-ho, devoted public servant disintegrated when investigators detailed how he’d staged his Sept. 1 death and that he’d embezzled thousands of dollars from a police youth program he ran for the department.
Gliniewicz began harassing Randolph in October 2014, when he pulled over Randolph’s car in Fox Lake and, without good reason, performed an “illegal search,” according to the lawsuit. Randolph, who lived in Fox Lake at the time, was targeted because of his race, the suit alleges.
“At such time, he dumped out plaintiff’s backpack and asked him where the drugs were,” the suit states. “Plaintiff informed Gliniewicz that he did not have any drugs.”
Gliniewicz told Randolph to share the names of people he knew to have drugs, the suit states.
When Randolph said he knew no one with drugs, Gliniewicz threatened him, saying that if he didn’t “make something happen for him,” then Gliniewicz would “make something happen to him,” according to the suit.
The suit also alleges that Randolph was one of the people questioned in the days following Gliniewicz’s death.
In a statement issued Friday, the village of Fox Lake said it “is reviewing the lawsuit filed today in federal court. It is also gathering information about the complaint and will defend itself against these claims.
“It is always the village’s expectation that Fox Lake Police officers treat everyone with professionalism, dignity and respect. If any citizen feels their treatment by Fox Lake police officers in any way falls short of these expectations, we encourage them to file a complaint immediately so proper action can be taken.”