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Cop’s wild ride — caught on dash-cam video — not too wild for Cicero

After closing down a late-night bar, he was clocked going nearly 90 mph in a 30 mph zone.

And after he was finally stopped, the off-duty Berwyn cop repeatedly reached out to a police chief to try to kill the speeding ticket, records show.

Donald Garrity wound up resigning his job as a Berwyn cop after those wild actions on that January 2008 night.

But it wasn’t enough to stop Cicero from hiring him to its force afterward.

Cicero Police Officer Donald Garrity
Cicero Police Officer Donald Garrity

New details about Garrity’s high-speed chase have emerged in court records and documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act as Garrity and Cicero face a federal lawsuit brought by the family of a North Riverside man who was shot dead by Garrity in 2012. The Sun-Times first wrote about the lawsuit in October.

Lawyers for Cesar Munive’s family claim Cicero should have never hired Garrity because of “red flags” on his record, including the North Riverside incident and mental health issues that made Garrity “unfit for duty before the Munive shooting.”

Garrity did not respond to a request for comment. His lawyers have previously said that Munive, a known gang member, was pointing a gun at another Cicero cop when he was shot.

But lawyers for Munive’s family claim the 22-year-old was unarmed and that Garrity and another Cicero cop planted a gun at the scene.

Lawyers for Cicero and Garrity have said that the officer’s medical records ought to be private and that his past in Berwyn is irrelevant to what happened.

When Garrity shot Munive in 2012, the cop was “a hero,” his attorney, Craig Tobin has said.

The Cook County state’s attorney’s office cleared Garrity of any criminal conduct in the shooting, a July 2014 letter from that office shows.

Munive’s attorneys, though, wrote that there were “plenty of warnings readily available to any reasonable police department that it was not safe to put a gun in the hands of such an unstable individual.”

“In any event, no one would hire him except Cicero,” they wrote.

Garrity, who is on medical leave, says he’s suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder after the shooting and is trying to collect a disability pension, according to a Town of Cicero document and the town’s attorney, Michael Del Galdo.

Munive wasn’t the first person Garrity had shot.

In 2005, in Berwyn, Garrity shot someone who “brandished a shotgun at police officers” and Garrity suffered “mild anxiety” as a result, according to a court document filed by Tobin, Garrity’s attorney.

Three years later, in January 2008, Garrity went to a bar around 11:30 p.m. in North Riverside, then sped off when the bar closed at 3 a.m., according to records obtained by the Sun-Times through the Freedom of Information Act. A North Riverside cop clocked him at 86 or 87 mph and chased him but couldn’t catch up, according to Berwyn internal affairs records.

Two other cops joined in the chase before Garrity stopped his car on the Cermak Avenue bridge.

The police officers, including an Illinois State Police trooper and Broadview officer, drew their guns at Garrity, who was not following their orders and was nearly pounced on by the trooper’s police dog. Garrity eventually got out of his car and identified himself as a cop, records state.

In the aftermath, the North Riverside cop in charge of the stop became nervous when Garrity was given his gun back.

That cop told the other officers to stick around because Garrity was “highly agitated and verbally abusive to her.”

He threatened “problems between Berwyn and North Riverside” if she wrote him a ticket, according to Berwyn internal affairs documents.

Then Garrity demanded the North Riverside police chief’s phone number. When the officer on scene wouldn’t give it to him, he called a dispatcher and got it from her, records show.

Garrity denied making threats against the North Riverside cop and initially said he only wanted to talk to the chief around 3:30 a.m. to get his license back, not to get out of the ticket, according to the transcript.

Though he was clocked going more than 80 mph, Garrity received a ticket only for going 65 mph in a 30 mph zone, records show.

The police chief of North Riverside at the time, Anthony Garvey, told Berwyn investigators Garrity tried to reach him “several” times. When they eventually spoke, Garrity “asked him if he could ‘make the ticket go away’ and then without hesitation he began to explain to Chief Garvey how to ‘void a traffic ticket,’ ” Garvey told Berwyn investigators.

Garrity eventually acknowledged that he had tried to get the ticket dismissed and said it was “very inappropriate.”

But he denied lying to a prosecutor that Garvey had approved the dismissal of the ticket — an allegation Garvey made to Berwyn Police, who removed Garrity from active duty about three months after the speeding incident.

He eventually resigned from the Berwyn force and was hired by Cicero in 2012.

Even Garrity acknowledged that he could have handled the situation better.

“Looking back now . . . do you think it would have been the easiest thing in the world to just pay the $75 bucks and be on your way,” a lawyer interrogating Garrity asked in March 2008.

Garrity replied, “I think that would have been the only solution.”