A Chicago cop fired after he got caught up in a plan to plant illegal drugs and a gun in a suburban woman’s car is entitled to another Chicago Police Board hearing to determine his punishment, a Cook County judge ruled Thursday.
But Judge Diane Larsen put no restrictions on how the police board may discipline Slawomir Plewa, meaning the board could simply choose to fire him once more.
In April, Larsen — citing a lack of evidence — ruled the police board went too far when it chose to fire Plewa last year. Plewa was charged in 2008 in connection with a scheme to plant drugs and a gun in a suburban woman’s car. Though a judge later found Plewa not guilty in that case, the same judge blasted Plewa for allegedly lying on the witness stand in a related criminal case.
In July 2013, the police board voted 8-1 to fire Plewa based on that alleged lie and what the board said was a lie on his original police application form. Plewa denies that he lied on his Chicago Police application form.
Plewa appealed and in April, Larsen said the board failed to look at any evidence from Plewa’s criminal trial in reaching its decision. By itself, the alleged lie on the application doesn’t warrant Plewa’s firing, Larsen wrote in April.
Attorneys for Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy asked Larsen to reconsider her decision. On Thursday, Larsen changed her April ruling in one significant way by saying, “The police board may issue its decision on discipline without any restraint from this court.”
In her ruling Thursday, Larsen said she’d made a mistake when she previously had attributed a statement that “lying on an employment application would not be sufficient for termination.” That statement had been made by Plewa’s lawyer; the judge said she had mistakenly identified the police superintendent’s lawyer as the source.