claimed Thursday in a federal lawsuit that an off-duty
Chicago police officer roughed them up and called them names
because of their sexual orientation after this year's
gay pride parade.
The lawsuit could
become the latest black eye for the Chicago Police
Department, which has faced tough questions lately about the
actions of off-duty officers, among other problems.
"This case is
another example of the corruption, cover-up, and
brutality that is festering inside the Chicago Police
Department,'' said attorney Dana Kurtz, who filed the
suit for damages on behalf of the three women.
defendants in the lawsuit filed on behalf of Kelly Fuery,
36, Debra Sciortino, 32, and Nicole Tomaskovic, 25,
were the police department, officer William Szura, and
two state troopers.
According to the
lawsuit, a vehicle driven by Fuery came upon a car
moving at 30 mph on Interstate 55 after the June 24 parade.
Fuery beeped her horn, and Szura responded by slamming
on his brakes, speeding up, and switching lanes,
making it impossible for Fuery to pass, the lawsuit
Fuery was forced
to the shoulder, where Szura screamed words such as
''dyke'' and spit at her, according to the lawsuit. The
women claim he stuck a gun in Fuery's abdomen,
''causing her to fear for her life.''
tried to step in, Szura shoved her, and she fell, the
lawsuit said. When Tomaskovic drove up in another car and
tried to help, Szura placed her in a choke hold,
according to the suit.
A few minutes
later, two state troopers arrived. When Szura identified
himself as a police officer, the three women were arrested
and charged with battery. The battery charges are
pending, Kurtz said.
It was not
immediately clear whether Szura had an attorney, and his
telephone was unlisted. Police spokeswoman Monique Bond said
the matter was being investigated.
Police spokesman Master Sgt. Brian Ley said there would be
no comment because the investigation was pending.
unspecified money damages, the suit asks the court to issue
an injunction barring any further such behavior.
In other Chicago
police troubles, six members of an elite unit are
accused of using their badges to shake down residents and
intimidate people. One of those six was accused
Wednesday of considering hiring gang members to kill a
former colleague and potential witness against him.
In July three
off-duty officers pleaded not guilty to beating four
businessmen in a bar in one of two videotaped confrontations
that helped ramp up criticism of the department.
In the other case
an off-duty officer was caught on tape apparently
beating a female bartender. The officer has pleaded not
guilty. (Mike Robinson, AP)