Jury awards Chicago police whistleblower more than $4 million in lawsuit against city

A Cook County jury on Friday awarded a former Chicago police investigator more than $4.3 million in damages after it determined the city violated Illinois whistleblower law.

Former Chicago Police Detective Beth Svik Alleged in a 2017 lawsuit The administration retaliated against her after she presented evidence that contradicted two officers’ accounts of her arrest the previous year.

Svek’s attorney, Turia Hamilton, said the ruling should motivate “good police officers to come forward” when they witness wrongdoing.

“If the circuit doesn’t stand up for you, the jury will,” Hamilton wrote in an email to the Chicago Sun-Times.

City representatives did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Svec has participated in a pilot program on the south side to investigate weapons cases in detective areas in the Southern CPD District, according to the initial complaint filed in Cook County Courthouse. In May 2016, she was assigned to investigate a case related to the arrest of two men by two Civilian Protection Police officers.

Officers told Svik that they arrested two men — one of whom was sitting atop a revolver on a bar stool on the front porch, and the other who punched an officer in the head as they approached the first man, the suit said.

This chain of events is documented from the officers’ point of view in a police report at the time, according to the lawsuit. The complaint stated that the men were to be charged with illegal possession of a weapon and severely beating a police officer.

The lawsuit said the two arrested men contradicted the officers’ version of events in interviews with Svek.

According to the complaint, eyewitness accounts and video footage found of the arrest contradict the officers’ account.

Svec argued that it continued to report the situation to its supervisors and the Cook County District Attorney’s office. The state attorney general’s office contacted the CPD’s Office of Internal Affairs, which launched an investigation.

Svec was moved to the Englewood area, told to work midnight shifts instead of the usual early morning, and told not to investigate illegal gun possession cases, according to the suit.

A jury decided Friday that the administration is violating the Illinois Whistleblower Law, which protects people who disclose violations of state or federal law from retaliation.

Hamilton said police reform should start internally.

“The only people who can change the Chicago Police Department are those inside,” Hamilton said.

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