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Police Cmte Passes Resolution

... Against Policeman

GLN permalink posted August 27, 2009

A Chicago police officer facing 20 federal civil rights lawsuits for allegedly targeting Lesbian and Gay motorists for false DUIs got a bit of comeuppance last night.

For years Officer Richard Fiorito has operated in the heart of Boystown, this city's gay entertainment district, allegedly roughing up Lesbian and Gay motorists, calling them "faggot" and falsely arresting them, in part so that he could rack up overtime pay for attending court appearances.

In his rush to ring up as many DUI busts as possible, on two separate occasions he has given verbal field sobriety tests -- to deaf women -- a violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act.

Last year Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) honored Fiorito for being among the state's highest writers of DUI tickets.

But now they're apparently thinking better of it. "These charges are disturbing on many levels," MADD grief therapist and victim advocate David Malham told Edge Chicago. "It is a crucial role that [police officers] are playing in stopping druck drivers and saving lives. For [Fiorito] to diss his own role, turning [it] into a con is particularly egregious. Here he is, taking these accolades while pocketing extra pay and getting overtime for court appearances, fooling everyone into think that [he's] a heroic figure, when [he's] just a con artist."

Last night a packed meeting of the "GLBT Subcommittee" of the 23rd district of the police department passed a near-unanimous resolution demanding action from the authorities.

Here is the text of that resolution:
"The GLBT Subcommittee of the 23rd District calls upon command-level Chicago Police staff to remove Officer Richard Fiorito's police powers pending resolution of the serious internal and federal civil rights charges pending against him. Furthermore, given the evidence of apparent criminal behavior, we believe that there is probable cause for the Cook County States Attorney's Office to file criminal charges against Fiorito for Perjury, False Arrest and False Imprisonment. We call upon them to file such charges immediately."

The two police officers at the meeting tried to stonewall the resolution -- without success. Everyone else at the meeting was in favor of it. One of the officers acknowledged that it was the largest attendance such meetings had ever had.

Civilian attendees at the meeting were under no illusions that resolutions or heartfelt pledges of the police to "study" the matter would in and of themselves bring change. Sustained community pressure is just about the only way the Chicago machine has ever been forced to take real action against its corrupt and/or brutal officers.

Community members also plan on voicing their protests at tonight's (Thursday, 8/27) 6 PM meeting of the "District Advisory Committee" at the 23rd District Station, 3600 N Halsted Street, Chicago.

The 20 suits against Officer Fiorito were filed by Erickson & Oppenheimer, P.C. More information about the community mobilizations around the cases can be obtained from the Gay Liberation Network, an LGBT direct action group, by emailing LGBTliberation@aol.com or going to www.GayLiberation.net


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