Couple alleges attack by off-duty cop in lawsuit

June 27, 2012 5:22:58 AM PDT
A couple who claims to have been beaten and terrorized by an off-duty Chicago police officer has now filed a lawsuit.

Heather Rzeny and her boyfriend Luis Cordero say it took two years to figure out who the name of the officer.

Their attorney says the city refused to cooperate in identifying the officer allegedly involved, but after looking at dozens of photos the alleged victims managed to recognize the officer.

Rzeny and Cordero say he beat them with his gun and threatened to shoot one of them. Then they say he approached them with a beer in his hand and he seemed drunk.

The couple say they were leaving a gathering when a man walked up and identified himself as a police officer outside a Northwest Side apartment complex . They say he proceeded to scream at them to leave and pull out his gun and started hitting them with the weapon, even though they were already leaving.

Rzeny called 911.

"Me and my fianc? are hurt," she told a 911 dispatcher. "We've both been pistol whipped. He's on the floor screaming. He put a gun in our faces for no reason."

Cordero allegedly suffered numerous cuts and bruises to his hands and head.

The couple's attorney says the officer, who they have identified at Chris Gofron, also threatened to shoot her.

"The officer turned to Heather and grabbed her around the throat. And you can see marks around her throat, put a gun to her face, put a gun to her mouth and said he was going to blow her brains out," said Greg Kulis, attorney, said.

Kulis says at some point the off-duty officer realized other witnesses were watching and he got the private security guard who was nearby to drive him away.

That guard filed a statement, however, backing up the couple's account. He wrote, "subject 1 approached subject 2 and pushed him around and then started hitting him with the gun and pushed subject 3 and hit her in the hand and continues hitting subject 2." Later the security guard says the cop told him in the car, "yeah, that's how we do it in Englewood."

Eventually the guard drove him back to the complex where police had arrived in response to the 911 call. They allege those officers told Gofron to get out of there.

The couple has filed suit against the city and the officer.

"They're afraid, they're fearful, they want to get on with their lives," Kulis said.

Late Tuesday afternoon a spokesperson for the city's law department said they are unable to comment on the case because it involves pending litigation. ABC7 also attempted to reach the Independent Police Review Authority to find out whether criminal charges could be filed in this case. They have not responded.


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