This week a Chicago court ruled that the city will pay $450,000 in damages to two citizens falsely accused of drunk driving.
Both cases involved a now retired Chicago police officer named Richard Fiorito. During his 13 years on the force Fiorito gained a reputation for aggressively pursuing drunk drivers. Three years ago he was forced off of street patrols due to numerous charges of false DUI arrests that resulted in the state’s attorney’s office dropping charges against 130 alleged drunk drivers.
Dozens of alleged DUI offenders arrested by Fiorito have appealed their cases in the past few years. Now the city of Chicago has agreed to pay damages to the last two offenders falsely accused by Fiorito. The city will by $100,000 to each motorist, and $250,000 in legal fees.
Despite these settlements and dropped charges, the state has refused to prosecute Fiorito for falsely arresting people.
“Unfortunately, the local prosecutor’s office has stood by this dirty cop and refused to press charges against him,” says DUI attorney Brett Appelman. “These federal lawsuits are sometimes the only recourse we as citizens have against a corrupt cop and those who defend them. There are many upstanding and honest prosecutors who try very hard to make sure the system remains on a level playing field. But again, just as there will always be dirty police officers who will lie and fabricate evidence against innocent people, there will always be prosecutors who will knowingly use this false evidence to put innocent people in jail. Until we can clean out the corruption in the courts system, these lawsuits will continue to be our best recourse against a rigged system.”