Chicago Taxpayers on Hook for 44 Million Dollars

A forty-four million dollar award makes a mockery of our civil justice system. A Chicago police officer, off duty and inebriated, was found by a civil jury to have caused the paralysis of a friend by shooting him and we the tax payers are held financially libel. That’s absolutely ridiculous. Just because this person worked for the police department does not mean that his superiors had any reasonable amount of control over him at his apartment in the early morning hours.

The police academy did not teach us to arbitrarily shoot friends that we disagree with. This officer was not taught to attempt to kill people off duty with no legal justification. This city has a responsibility to train and educate their officers. They do a proper job of this and yet when an employee commits some foolish or violent act off duty, the city is held responsible. Why? Because a small group of attorneys have a field day suing the city: Its easy money and often-ridiculous amounts of it.

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Do these attorneys sue the business school after a former student commits an ethics violation by embezzling from his company? Do they sue the dental school after a dentist fondles a patient? Do they sue the bakery chief after his protégé poisons a group of people by using bad ingredients? Of course not is the answer, to all these questions. Then why are the taxpayers on the hook for over forty million dollars after a person, off duty, in an inebriated state, allegedly commits a criminal act of his own free will?

Punish the owner who knowingly allows crime to be committed. Punish the employer who knowingly allows criminal activity. Punish the person who commits the crime. But don’t punish millions of taxpayers because some bigshot attorney talks pretty. That is against every value we hold dear to us.

Larry Casey, sergeant (ret.), Chicago Police Department