Ex-officer, town to pay $450,000

By: Charles Keeshan, Daily Herald: June 8th, 2009

A federal jury Monday ordered a former police officer and the McHenry County town he once served to pay $450,000 to a Wisconsin man he was accused of beating in an off-duty bar brawl.

Jurors deliberated about 3½ hours before reaching the verdict, finding ex-Richmond cop Brian Quilici responsible for injuries Ryan Hallett suffered during the April 2005 melee outside KC’s Cabin in Fox Lake.

“Justice was done,” Hallett attorney Russell Ainsworth said after the verdict. “The jury said this was an abuse of power, that (Quilici) beat an innocent man and then tried to cover it up.”

Quilici, of Lisle, previously was convicted of multiple felony charges and sentenced to two years in prison after a criminal trial stemming from the same set of allegations. He is appealing that conviction. His attorney, Vincent Solano, said Monday that he at least took heart in jurors apportioning some blame for the incident on Hallett.

“We tested the evidence as best we could and this was the verdict,” Solano said. “I respect the jury verdict, win, lose or draw.”

The allegations stem from an encounter between Hallett, Quilici and two former Spring Grove police officers, Ronald Pilati and Jerome Volstad. Quilici and Pilati, both active police officers at the time, were off-duty. Hallett claimed that after arguing with the former officers inside the bar, they followed him outside, forced him into handcuffs and beat him. Quilici, witnesses said, kicked Hallett in the face as he lay helpless on the ground. The officers testified that they were acting in self-defense after Hallett pulled a knife on them and held it against the throat of a woman who tried to break up their dispute.

Pilati and Volstad also were found guilty of felony charges stemming from the incident, but the convictions were overturned and they later pleaded guilty to misdemeanors. Both, along with Spring Grove, were named in Hallett’s lawsuit, but settled before trial for an undisclosed sum.

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