Bartender files $2M suit, says drunk cop threw bottle at her - FOX 10 News |

Bartender files $2M suit, says drunk cop threw beer bottle at her

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CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

A bartender has filed a $2 million lawsuit against the city, claiming a Chicago Police sergeant tried to intimidate her to prevent her from filing charges against a drunk, off-duty officer who allegedly threw a beer bottle at her head after she stopped serving him last May at a Northwest Side bar.

Jennifer Cafferata, a bartender at Tommy's on Higgins, claims the officer was "severely intoxicated" when he threw the full bottle at her after she cut him off for bothering another customer, according to the suit.

The officer, a regular customer at the bar at 5954 W. Higgins Ave., was off-duty at the time of the May 15, 2012, incident, she claims.

After the bottle hit her in the head, the officer grabbed his keys off the bar and left, she said in the suit.

The bartender claims city officials knew the officer was "particularly violent when he was intoxicated" based on other incidents, according to the suit.

Cafferata further claims that when she went to the Jefferson Park Police District to file charges against him, a sergeant there appeared to already have spoken with the officer, who worked in the Rogers Park District, according to the suit.

The sergeant allegedly tried to discourage the bartender from filing charges, and told her the officer would file a cross-complaint accusing Cafferata of stealing his cell phone during the encounter -- an accusation the suit calls "a complete fabrication."

The officer has never been charged over the incident, but Cafferata did file a complaint with the Independent Police Review Authority, the suit said.

IPRA spokesman Larry Merrit says an investigation stemming from a complaint filed over the incident is pending, and declined to provide further details.

Monday's lawsuit accuses Chicago Police and the city of carrying on a "code of silence" regarding police misconduct, and of failing to properly investigate and discipline accused police department members.

The four-count suit was filed in Cook County Circuit Court against the officer, the sergeant and the city, and seeks at least $2 million in damages.

It claims conspiracy as well as violations of the plaintiff's rights to due process and equal protection, and seeks to hold the city responsible for its employees' actions.

A city Law Department spokesman said the city had not yet been served with the suit as of Monday evening and declined to comment on it.

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