Case of cop retaliating goes to court - FOX 32 News Chicago

Cop who retaliated after girlfriend was soaked by hydrant in court

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

A jury decided Tuesday that the city should pay because a police officer overreacted in a big way after someone gave his girlfriend a soaking from an open fire hydrant.

It started with a fire hydrant at the corner of 38th St. and Kedzie on a hot summer night, two years ago.

Police claimed that 20-year-old Heriberto Godinez Jr. used the open hydrant to spray a woman driving by. She happened to be the girlfriend of Chicago Police Officer Jose Estrada.

Godinez's parents claimed in a federal lawsuit that Officer Estrada retaliated by showing up at their home with three other officers, looking for their son, and unlawfully and violently forcing their way in.

"A policeman came and grabbed her from her two hands and threw her to the ground," Ofelia Godinez's interpreter translated to Fox Chicago.

Attorneys Jeffrey Granich and Katie Ehrmin represented the family in a one-week trial which ended Tuesday. They say that on the witness stand all of the officers claimed they were unaware of a department rule forbidding them from getting involved in cases where they had a personal interest.

"Really, what this case was all about was that the mother was arrested because she had the audacity to ask the officer why he was entering her home without a warrant which again, we found, very shocking," Granich says.

The jury handed down a $40,000 verdict against the city and $10,000 against Officer Estrada personally, for excessive use of force, and false arrest. A second officer was also found liable and a third was cleared of any wrongdoing. Granich says the cops just went too far.

"Trained officers should know the difference between who they need to treat with force, and whom they do not," says Granich.

A spokesperson for the city says they're disappointed with the verdict and their lawyers are reviewing it. Originally, the 20-year-old and his mother and father faced criminal charges surrounding this incident, but they were all acquitted.

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