Another “DUI Super Cop”

Posted by Lawrence Taylor on October 7th, 2009

I’ve written repeatedly in the past about the growing phenomenon of the so-called "DUI Super Cop".  See, for example, DUI SuperCopsHow to be a "Top Cop" and SuperCops: The Smoking Gun.  The are cops who rack up high numbers of drunk driving arrests — resulting in awards from MADD, departmental promotions and higher salaries from overtime.  Problem: to reach those arrest figures, you have to find a lot of drivers to arrest — even if they aren’t guilty.

The latest example, complete with online video of the cop:


Lawsuit Accuses Cop of Fake DUI Arrests

Chicago, IL.  Oct. 4 — ABC7 Chicago has learned that a veteran Chicago police officer is under investigation for allegedly making dozens of false DUI arrests, and criminal charges may be coming soon.

Surveillance video has been obtained from one of those arrests showing Officer Richard Fiorito in action on the night shift.

Because of all the complaints against him, Chicago police ordered Fiorito to use a surveillance system in his squad car back in March. The video obtained by ABC7 Chicago is from his squad car and will be used as evidence in a federal civil case against him.

To date, 21 people are part of the lawsuit. All say they were victims of a DUI scheme…

What Officer Fiorito wrote in his own police report was that the driver was so intoxicated, he was unable to perform any of the standard field sobriety tests.

In the video, the driver is told to walk a straight line and next, to touch his finger to his nose with eyes closed. Finally, he’s told to stand on one leg for 30 seconds, eyes closed.

"I’ve been doing DUIs since 1992, and I’ve never seen a subject do the one-leg stand this well," said Jon Erickson, the attorney for plaintiffs…

The civil case charges that Officer Fiorito engages in a pattern of false arrests, then perjures himself in court testimony in order to rack up more than 300 DUI arrests per year.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving(MADD) awarded Fiorito for being the state’s highest writer of DUI tickets.

ABC7 Chicago found Officer Fiorito after he had just testified in another DUI case at the criminal courthouse. That’s a place he spends a lot of time, according to the lawsuit, being paid time-and-a-half.

"The more DUI arrests that he makes, the more times that he has to go to court, more times he goes to court, the more money he makes," said Erickson.

ABC7 Chicago has learned that Fiorito is also being investigated by the Cook County state’s attorney’s office.

Two other Chicago cops have been accused of similar DUI schemes in recent years. One was stripped of his police powers during his investigation. The other decided to retire and collect his pension rather than face impending charges.

Despite dozens of complaints against him, Officer Fiorito is still out on the streets making DUI arrests. A Chicago Police Department spokesperson wouldn’t say much about Fiorito, telling ABC7 Chicago only that he was under investigation by the internal affairs division.

Sources tell ABC7 that criminal charges against Fiorito are expected to be handed down soon from the state’s attorney’s office.
 

For every one of these MADD "Super Cops" who get caught, how many across the country are "still out on the streets making DUI arrests"?
 

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