Police officers indicted in beating outside bar

By: Jeff Long, Chicago Tribune: June 3rd, 2005

A McHenry County grand jury indicted two police officers and a former police officer Thursday in the beating of a man Feb. 20 near Fox Lake.

“They’re supposed to protect us from violence, and here they’re perpetrating violence,” said State’s Atty. Lou Bianchi.

“It’s a sad day,” Bianchi said. “It’s so disappointing and disturbing.”

Bianchi said an investigation by the Illinois State Police cleared Ryan Hallett, 25, of Spring Grove, the man who was beaten, of any wrongdoing.

“He’s the victim,” Bianchi said.

Hallett alleged in a federal lawsuit filed against the men and the Villages of Richmond and Spring Grove, where the two police officers worked at the time of the incident, that he suffered severe injuries during the beating, which took place outside a tavern. The officers were off duty at the time.

One of the defendants, Brian Quilici, resigned last month from the Richmond Police Department, Bianchi said.

Quilici, 33, had not been arrested by 5 p.m. Thursday, and a warrant was issued for his arrest, Bianchi said. He joined the Richmond department in February 2002.

Another defendant, Ronald Pilati, 33, of Spring Grove, has been on administrative leave from the Spring Grove Police Department during the investigation, Bianchi said.

The third defendant, Jerome M. Volstad, 40, of McHenry was with the Richmond Police Department from 1987 to 1990, when he joined the Lincolnshire Police Department, according to Bianchi. He was fired in 2003 for taking too much sick time, Bianchi said.

Officials of the three police departments could not be reached for comment Thursday afternoon.

Pilati and Volstad were being held in McHenry County Jail in lieu of $250,000 bail each.

All three men were charged Thursday with aggravated battery, obstruction of justice, conspiracy and unlawful restraint.

Quilici and Pilati were charged with official misconduct, and Volstad was charged with impersonating a police officer.

They face up to 5 years in prison.

The allegations against Quilici contributed to the firing of Richmond Police Chief Roger Szewczyk for insubordination.

Former Village President Kevin Brusek said in March that the incident was one of many the chief did not notify village officials about.

In addition, Jessica Thelen, 28, of Bristol, Wis., was charged Thursday with aggravated battery and conspiracy in the case. She remained jailed in lieu of $30,000 bail. She also faces up to 5 years in prison.

Bianchi would not discuss specifics of what led to the beating.

Hallett says in his lawsuit that Quilici, Pilati and Volstad handcuffed him and “took turns beating him, causing severe injuries … and ultimately requiring the installation of a plate in his head.”

According to the lawsuit, Hallett stopped at a tavern near Fox Lake to meet a co-worker. When he arrived, he saw the co-worker in a “heated verbal dispute” with the three defendants and Thelen.

Outside the bar, the three men confronted Hallett and “beat him with their fists, knees and boots,” the lawsuit says. During the beating, one of the men “viciously kicked [Hallett] in the face, shattering the orbital bone surrounding his right eye,” the suit says.

In a statement, Hallett’s attorney, Jon Loevy, commended Bianchi’s office.

“In our firm’s experience, prosecutors all too often decline to prosecute if the aggressor happens to be a police officer,” the statement said.



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