Will Prosecutors Plea Down Felony Battery On Police?
Officers in the first and eighteenth district are fuming about a possible strategy by a Cook County State’s Attorney that she wants to plead a felony battery on a police officer during a demonstration into a misdemeanor battery.
Officer Brendan Gill, who was working as a First District tactical officer on December 13, 2014, was pushed by one offender, then punched by another during a demonstration about police brutality in December, 2014, according to reports.
David Rucker and Alfredo Reyes were charged with felony aggravated battery to a police officer after they refused repeated commands to withdraw to the sidewalk. Gill suffered a badly swollen eye after being punched by Reyes, according to reports.
A few weeks ago, officers involved in the case were notified that prosecutors want to plead the case down to a misdemeanor. The officers are angry about and reject a plea deal.
The case holds compelling background. According to 2014 news reports from the Chicago Tribune, the attorney representing Rucker and Reyes in 2014 is Joey Mogul from the law firm the People’s Law Office (PLO).
A 2014 Trib article reported how Mogul described the case:
Joey Mogul, one of the attorneys representing the men, said the three were out protesting police brutality when they were arrested and that the whole incident is “cruelly ironic.”
It sure is.
The PLO is one of the most prominent wrongful conviction firms in the city, alleging misconduct against police officers for more than three decades and garnering huge settlements from the city.
But recently, one of their wrongful conviction claims failed in federal court, and failed badly.
In November of last year, Mogul went to federal court on a lawsuit alleging that detectives framed Nicole Harris for the murder of her own child in 2005. Detectives vehemently denied any wrongdoing and maintained Harris was guilty. That’s exactly what attorneys for the detectives argued in court, and the jury sided with them on every count, refusing to give Harris a dime.
The civil trial raises a chilling question: Should Harris have been released in the first place? Other wrongful conviction cases are also pending in the courts arguing that the release of these offenders is false.
But that’s not the end of the “cruel irony.”
Other cases have also emerged in the media and federal courts alleging false exonerations based on claims of police misconduct. Despite these allegations, the Cook County State’s Attorney under Kimberly Foxx has continued to exonerate offenders without addressing this evidence, a sign many police officers and the FOP believe is evidence of a powerful bias operating in the city’s criminal justice system.
Mogul’s law firm, the PLO, is also in the process of fighting to overturn the conviction of Jackie Wilson for the 1982 murder of two police officers, one of the most notorious murder cases in the state’s history. At the last hearing for the case, attorneys for the PLO said they would make the bizarre argument in a criminal retrial that Wilson was innocent of the slayings.
All of which brings us back to the State’s Attorney’s desire to downgrade felony charges in the attacks on Officer Gill in December 2014.
Isn’t it about time that Cook County Prosecutors, especially during the Foxx administration, started backing the police instead of clients of law firms like the PLO?
The police have certainly had enough of Foxx’s one-sided criminal justice philosophy.
And so has the FOP.