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Mitchell: Off-duty cops accused of beating brothers

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When it comes to police brutality, it doesn’t matter if the victim is a saint or a sinner.

But it is frustrating when the people who are getting paid because of police misconduct are already costing the system.

A lawsuit filed Tuesday against the city of Chicago is a good example.

The suit accuses five off-duty police officers of either participating in or abetting an unprovoked attack in January 2015 on brothers Javier Jimenez and Juan Jimenez outside the Golden Nugget restaurant on Irving Park Road.

The brothers are seeking compensatory damages, punitive damages and attorney fees.

Last month one of the brothers, Javier, 23, was charged with DUI after he crashed his car near a school in west suburban Riverside. Police recovered packets of cocaine from him and his car. He was previously arrested for DUI in 2013.

OPINION

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With respect to the Golden Nugget incident, Chicago Police officers Scott Rooney, Joshua Almodovar and Jesus Delgado were charged with two counts of battery. Sgt. Tracey Walczak and officer Danielle Ferlito, part of the group drinking at nearby Joe E’s bar, are accused of failing to “de-escalate the situation.”

At one point the accused officers came back into the bar and allegedly asked Walczak and Ferlito for a “gun and handcuffs,” according to the complaint.

“Without lawful justification, defendant officers, Rooney, Almodovar and Delgado again left the bar, and launched a brutal physical attack upon plaintiffs by punching and kicking them in the face, head and body,” according to the complaint.

When an eyewitness remarked he was going to call the police, Walczak allegedly said, “We are the police.”

The three officers involved in the physical confrontation and Walczak fled the scene before uniformed police officers arrived, according to the complaint.

The Jimenez brothers were taken to Swedish Covenant Hospital after uniformed officers arrived.

Rahsaan A. Gordon, the attorney representing the Jimenez brothers, said this incident shows that even off-duty cops who are drunk are afforded a “certain deference” when it comes to the process.

“Most people clearly know that if they are identified while attacking somebody and their identity becomes known, some wheel of justice starts to turn,” he said.

“Apparently the Independent Police Review Authority is still investigating, and the status of the police officers hasn’t changed. It shows a distinct difference on how even off-duty police officers are treated compared to ordinary citizens,” Gordon said.

A spokesman for IPRA confirmed there is a “pending investigation” of this matter.

The Chicago Police Department did not respond to a request for comment.

But in a police report, the officers said the incident was “gang related,” and alleged the brothers started “a verbal altercation.

“[They] began to ‘provoke’ the off-duty police officers by saying ‘What the f— you looking at?’ and ‘We have something for you,’ and ‘made movements toward his waistband implying that he had a firearm,” according to the police report.

I think most people would agree cops, especially drunken off-duty cops, shouldn’t go around beating up on people because they don’t like being mean-mugged.

In the past residents like Javier Jimenez would have been reluctant to accuse the police. But police credibility has sunk so low, proving the abuse actually took place is no longer a long shot.

Additionally, when bad cops are allowed to get away with abusing the citizenry, unsavory characters reap the benefits.

Where’s the justice in that?

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