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September 2009
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Brava: Lisa Hofstra’s Lawsuit Against Rogue Cop

Lisa HofstraSo I might be a little bit biased. I file lawsuits for a living. But, in my business, we do not file lawsuits unless there are damages that merit the filing.

Last month, Lisa Hofstra and her attorneys filed suit in a case most likely without a monetary upside. In my opinion, her damages are minimal and therefore probably do not merit filing suit.

However, Lisa Hofstra’s case is one that needed to be filed. Not for monetary gain, rather to let the city know what we already know: that rouge cops are out there bullying us.

On August 1, 2009, at about 4am, Lisa Hofstra was the charge nurse in the emergency room when a Chicago Police Officer came in and demanded she perform a blood test on a DUI suspect. Hofstra told the officer that the patient would be to be admitted before any blood could be drawn, per the hospital’s protocol.

As Hofstra called her supervisor, the officer cuffed Hofstra and escorted her to her squad car. A hospital security camera shows the officer smiling outside the squad car as Lisa Hofstra sat, cuffed, in the squad car.

Her attorney, Blake Horwitz, said: “he feels comfortable about smiling when he just illegally arrested someone. He is enjoying his power.”

No charges were filed. No police report was filed.

And that’s the problem. At times, the men and women who are sworn to protect us can act like an elementary school brat. These officers can act like the kid in a pick up game of football that takes his ball and goes home when a call doesn’t go his way. Everyone in the neighborhood hated that kid, while tolerating him, because he had the power to end the game. That’s what the Chicago police have become to us: the neighborhood brat everyone hates but tolerates because they have the power and oftentimes, misuse it.

Which is too bad because many men and women in the department are good people who do a tough job well. However, the bad apples that taint the entire department.

We see it everyday. From the small, police officers disobeying traffic laws: going through red lights without an emergency, parking in handicap spaces or at hydrants; to drunk cops beating up small female bartenders who won’t serve them; to the four Chicago police officers from special operations charged last week with robbery, home invasion and official misconduct. These four are expected to plead guilty and assist in an investigation regarding an ring led by another Chicago police officer. The ring is accused of making false arrests and committing robberies and home invasions for several years. All under the color of law– with guns that they could legally use in the furtherance of their illegal activity.

That’s why Lisa Hofstra’s suit is so important. Not to put money in her pockets for the inconvenience of being in cuffs for 45 minutes, but rather to bring more attention to the problem plaguing our city for too long. Police officers being comfortable about abusing their power. If police officers are held to account for misusing their power, perhaps an officer will think harder about illegally arresting someone and laughing about it.

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