17 June 2009
Mayer Brown has successfully defended an off-duty police officer accused of aggravated battery related to a December 2006 fight in a Chicago bar. The fight involved several off-duty officers with several male civilians, and it received significant news attention because of videotapes from the bar’s security system that captured the fight.
Our client, Officer Paul Powers, had only been on the force for three years. He was represented pro bono by partner Lori Lightfoot. The officers’ position was that some of the civilians initiated the fight by taunting and ridiculing Powers for crying over the recent death of his father.
In a 30-page opinion that adopted most of the arguments put forward or developed by the Mayer Brown team, Cook County Circuit Judge Thomas V. Gainer Jr. acquitted all of the defendants and provided a detailed analysis of the video. Only one witness, the purported victim, testified against Powers. Ultimately, the Judge found that man’s credibility to be severely lacking.
Within a few days of the acquittal, the accused officers were reinstated.