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No criminal charges for cop accused of fake DUI arrests

Monday, February 01, 2010 abc7chicago.com LINK
GLN permalink 2-2-2010

February 2, 2010 (CHICAGO) (WLS) -- A Chicago police officer who was taken off the streets after being accused of making false DUI arrests will not face criminal charges.

ABC7 has learned that Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez has decided not to press any criminal charges against Chicago police officer Richard Fiorito. Her decision comes after a nearly year-long investigation by her office into allegations that he was making hundreds of phony DUI arrests.

To his accusers, dash-cam video scenes taken from inside Officer Richard Fiorito's own squad car made it an open and shut case. In his police report, Fiorito wrote that one driver was swerving and nearly hitting parked cars. Attorneys representing nearly 40 people who say Fiorito trumped up charges against them say it shows exactly the opposite.

But on Monday night, Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez's office has ended its criminal investigation and has decided that no charges will be charged against Officer Fiorito.

"Based upon that investigation, it was determined that there were a number of inconsistencies. A number of the witnesses had severe credibility issues. And it was ultimately determined we wouldn't be able to meet our burden which in a criminal case is beyond a reasonable doubt," said Dan Kirk, Alvarez' chief of staff.

In early October, the Chicago Police Department placed Fiorito on administrative leave after ABC7 news aired dash-cam video that seemed to show inconsistencies in his written police reports.

But the state's attorney's office says many of the alleged victims were not credible after reviewing their testimony in different hearings.

"Individual witnesses' testimony differed in ways that can't be explained between different hearings and that is all I can really say about it," said Kirk.

"Here we are on the eve of the primary election and this is when they dump the bad news, so this was entirely predictable," said Andy Thayer, co-founder, Gay Liberation Network. Thayer, an activist leading the charge against Fiorito, says the decision from Alvarez isn't surprising.

"I'd say it's a shock. A punch in the gut," said Mary Cay Marubio, defense attorney.

The federal civil suit against Fiorito will continue on. And the Chicago Police Department tells ABC7 that Fiorito will remain on desk duty until an Internal Affairs investigation has been completed.

ABC7 was unable to reach Fiorito or his attorney for comment.

In response to the charge that Anita Alvarez is only protecting one of her own, her chief of staff points out that five Chicago police officers have been charged with felonies within the past year.

(Copyright ©2010 WLS-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)


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