Ex-CPS principal sues school cafeteria worker, CPD detective who charged him

Now that his criminal case is over, Kurt Jones is heading to federal court, accusing the cafeteria worker and detective of violating his civil rights “by having him arrested and prosecuted for these crimes.”

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Former Chicago Public Schools principal Kurt Jones outside the Leighton Criminal Courthouse during his bench trial July 20.

Former Chicago Public Schools principal Kurt Jones outside the Leighton Criminal Courthouse during his bench trial July 20.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

A former Chicago Public Schools principal is suing a school cafeteria worker and a Chicago police detective after he was found not guilty of three felony charges stemming from a March 2020 incident in which he threw a water bottle that hit the worker in the head.

Kurt Jones resigned from Franklin Fine Arts Center in Old Town in 2020 and was criminally charged that month. After a year and a half in court, Cook County Judge Angela Petrone found him not guilty in October of two counts of aggravated battery causing bodily harm and permanent disfigurement, and a count of aggravated battery of a school employee.

Now that his criminal case is over, Jones is heading to federal court. In a nine-page complaint filed this week, Jones accused the cafeteria worker, Faye Jenkins, and CPD detective Juan Gonzalez of violating his civil rights “by having him arrested and prosecuted for these crimes,” his attorney Gregory Kulis said in a statement.

“Mr. Jones fought these outrageous criminal charges for a year and three months at the criminal courts building at 26th and California,” Kulis said.

In his lawsuit, Jones said other CPD officers had already investigated the incident and found no criminal wrongdoing. Then “Detective Juan Gonzalez and Faye Jenkins conspired to have Kurt Jones arrested despite there being no evidence of criminal intent or criminal acts,” the suit said in laying out civil conspiracy, false arrest and malicious prosecution allegations.

Jones maintained his innocence throughout the case, even after a CPS investigation concluded he was at fault in several misconduct cases, some unconnected to the bottle-throwing incident. In that case, Jones said he and school workers were “playing some child-like games in the cafeteria” when a bottle inadvertently hit Jenkins in the face — not nearly rising to the level of a crime, he explained to investigators.

The ex-principal has already sued CPS, accusing the district of breaching his contract, violating his due process rights and wrongfully terminating him.

A Chicago police spokesman said the department doesn’t comment on pending litigation. Jenkins couldn’t immediately be reached.

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