Paraplegic claims indicted cops ridiculed him

Allegedly cuffed him face down, looted his house.

By: Frank Main, Chicago Sun-Times: March 7th, 2007

Chicago Police Officer Jerome Finnigan and fellow Special Operations Section members have faced repeated allegations that they burst into homes without warrants, ransacked them and stole cash, jewelry and other valuables.

But there’s a twist involving one alleged victim, Rene Guerrero. The 30-year-old man is a paraplegic and claims Finnigan, Officer John Burzinski and others handcuffed him face down and ridiculed his disability as they looted his home in 2005.

“The real shame is Chicago had notice of this type of behavior for a long time, but they left Finnigan and the others on the street to continue doing it,” said Arthur Loevy, an attorney for Guerrero.

Finnigan and six other Special Operations officers face criminal charges for allegedly breaking into homes and shaking down residents for money, drugs and other things. Burzinski is not charged criminally.

The Special Operations officers also have drawn a flurry of lawsuits. In his case filed last month, Guerrero claims that when he protested his treatment during the May 2, 2005, raid, an officer said “shut the_f- – – up you handicapped motherf – – – – -.” At one point, an officer allegedly said it would be funny to see Guerrero try to get up and run.

Accused of planting drugs

Guerrero says he was held 25 hours in a police station and denied access to medication and a catheter he needed to urinate.

Guerrero, a drug felon, was arrested for possession of a gun the officers found in a bedroom, records show. He pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor.

In a separate lawsuit filed last month, Anthony Castro admits Finnigan and other officers seized cocaine, a gun and $12,000 from his home on July 27, 2004. During the warrantless search, the officers allegedly told Castro they would not charge him with anything if he gave them the name of another person they could rip off.

Castro says he provided them the name of an “immigrant who had money” and the officers invaded that man’s home. In the criminal case against the officers, they are accused of stealing $5,500 from the man and planting Castro’s cocaine on him.

Trucker also files suit

Another lawsuit claims Finnigan cut off trucker Chad Overly on the Stevenson Expy. on Nov. 2, 2005, forced Overly to pull over, and “began to attack him.” Finnigan showed his weapon and forced Overly to hang up when he tried to call 911, the lawsuit said.

Overly was arrested by State Police and charged with battery, but the case was dropped when Finnigan failed to show up in court, said the lawsuit filed Tuesday.

None of the allegations contained in the lawsuits by Guerrero and Overly has led to criminal charges against officers.


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