FOP Attorney Threatens Defamation Against Attorney
Attorneys for the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) threatened a defamation lawsuit against an attorney and his clients for claiming that police shot and killed a youth on the West Side this summer.
In a letter authorized by FOP President Kevin Graham, FOP attorney Tim Grace warned attorney Andrew M. Stroth from the Action Injury Law Group that statements made by Stroth and his clients claiming the police shot Steve Rosenthal on August 17 are defamatory.
Police reported that Rosenthal shot himself after police observed seeing Rosenthal with a gun and tried to detain him.
From the Chicago Tribune:
“Within moments, these officers, without cause or provocation, shot and killed 15-year old Steven. . . . Based on several eyewitness accounts, these officers ended the hopes and the dreams of a talented young man with a bright future.”
Grace attacked these statements in his letter to Stroth. Grace warned that if Stroth or his clients continue making such statements, Grace will take legal action on behalf of the officers.
“The statements you and your clients have made are simply untrue and actionable. These officers are also affected by this event,” Grace said in the letter. “My clients appreciate that this is a very emotional time for the family and joins with them in objecting to this senseless loss of life. For this reason, my clients will grant them safe harbor for the previous defamatory statements. However, if you should decline this offer, you will leave my clients with no other alternative but to take legal action to protect their good name and reputation.”
“The Cook County Medical Examiner ruled the death a suicide based upon the autopsy and physical evidence,” Grace said. “The ballistics indicated that the officers did not fire their weapons and the body-worn cameras clearly depict the location of the officers when the shot that killed Steven Rosenthal was fired. Despite all this independent evidence, your firm and Mr. Rosenthal’s family have made slanderous and libelous statements about the incident. . . . You also claimed to the Chicago Sun-Times that you have hired a doctor and investigator whose analysis did not indicate suicide and that there were eyewitnesses who claim the police shot Mr. Rosenthal. If this is true, I would suggest you tender these witnesses to the detectives handling the investigation.”