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Gay man sues
Chicago police, alleging harassment and beating

Gay man sues
Chicago police, alleging harassment and beating

A gay Chicago man is seeking $50,000 in damages, alleging in a lawsuit that he was brutally beaten in March 2006 by police who spewed antigay epithets and left him in a holding cell for two days without food or water.

Alexander Ruppert, 37, was originally taken into police custody on a charge of disorderly conduct at a bar, to which he pleaded guilty, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Officers Vincent Torres and Kent Pemberton asked Ruppert to leave the bar and placed him in their squad car; he had not been arrested or handcuffed. His suit claims that while the officers drove off with him, they used antigay slurs while hitting him in the face and about his head. Ruppert weighs 120 pounds; his lawyers say the officers each weigh more than 200 pounds.

"It was only until he told them he had AIDS that they stopped," said one of Ruppert's lawyers, Michael Oppenheimer, at a press conference Thursday.

Meanwhile, Ruppert used his cell phone to call his partner, who he says overheard the beating and antigay slurs. WMAQ TV reports that Ruppert was eventually taken to a hospital, where he received 16 stitches under his eye. After his hospital release, he was taken into police custody and placed in a holding cell.

The suit, filed in Chicago's federal court, said Rupert resorted to drinking water from the toilet to avoid dehydration over his two days behind bars.

He was also charged with two counts of aggravated battery of an officer, but the charges were dismissed because Torres and Pemberton did not want to testify about the incident in court, according to a spokeswoman for the Cook County state's attorney.

City and police officials declined to comment on the suit, the Tribune reported. (The Advocate)

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