A Chicago Police Officer accused of targeting gay and lesbian motorists for phony DUI arrests and making anti-gay comments during those arrests will not be indicted, the Cook County State's Attorney's office said today. The officer, Richard Fiorito, has had nearly 40 civil rights lawsuits filed against him alleging blatant homophobia.
After an investigation that lasted almost one year, County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez has decided not to press any criminal charges against Fiorito, ABC 7 Chicago reported today.
"Based upon that investigation, it was determined that there were a number of inconsistencies," Alvarez' chief of staff Dan Kirk told ABC. "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."
But Fiorito's accusers claim dash-cam video scenes from within Fiorito's own squad car contain all the proof the office would need. ABC reports:
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.
This leads some to say say Alvarez's office never conducted a thorough investigation in the first place.
An attorney familiar with the case told ChicagoPride.com writer Amy Wooten that while Alvarez' office claims that the investigation took a year, they only spoke with four individuals last June, "so the 'year-long investigation' was one month."
Because Alvarez' office continued to use Fiorito as a witness in cases long after they began their investigation, the attorney added, not charging the cop was the only "politically tenable" position they could take.
Andy Thayer, Chicago LGBT activist and co-founder of the Gay Liberation Network, was told by a source weeks ago that the State's Attorney's Office planned on dismissing charges against Fiorito, but when he went public with that knowledge, they denied it, calling Thayer's information a "rumor."
"That was a bald-faced lie," Thayer told ChicagoPride. "They did it right on the eve of the primary election in hopes of getting it buried. The decision itself was purely political."
Fiorito, who worked the night shift in Chicago's "Boystown" neighborhood, was placed on administrative leave in October of 2009 after ABC7 news aired footage that showed inconsistencies in his police reports. Chicago Police told ABC that allegations about Fiorito making phony DUI arrests to boost overtime are still being investigated.
"If they indicted [Fiorito], they would have to admit they were using a dirty cop [as a witness] against innocent people," the unnamed attorney told ChicagoPride. "This decision was made a long time ago."