Federal Jury Orders Officer Edgar Gallardo to Pay Restitution to His VictimÂ
A jury in Chicago federal court today found a City of Aurora police officer guilty of false arrest, excessive force and malicious prosecution in the 2008 beating and tasing of Kurt Kopek, a 37-year-old resident of Aurora and graduate of Wheaton Warrenville South High School.Â
The suit stemmed from the beating and repeated tasing that Officer Edgar Gallardo unleashed on Kopek on the afternoon of September 2, 2008 in Aurora’s Clearwood Park, in front of other officers and Kopek’s then-wife, January Kopek.Â
Mrs. Kopek was driving to pick up the family’s two children from school when Gallardo pulled her over, handcuffed and arrested her for allegedly driving on suspended plates and a suspended license.Â As it turns out, both were current; the Illinois Secretary of State simply had not updated its computer files.
Shortly after the traffic stop began, Kurt Kopek was called to the scene by Aurora police officers.Â When Kopek arrived and began asking Officer Gallardo questions about what was happening, Gallardo refused to answer Kopek’s questions, repeatedly telling him that it was “none of his business” and that Kopek “didn’t belong there.”
Kopek got exasperated and used rude language, and then Gallardo physically attacked Kopek and filed false charges against him in order to cover up his misconduct.Â Kopek was found not guilty on all counts in a May 2010 criminal trial.
The federal jury today awarded Kopek $50,000 — $35,000 in compensatory damages to be paid by the City of Aurora and $15,000 in punitive damages to be paid by Gallardo.Â
Kopek was represented by Roshna Bala Keen and Rachel Steinback of Loevy & Loevy Attorneys at Law.Â Loevy & Loevy (www.Loevy.com) is the largest civil rights firm in the Midwest.Â Over the past decade, Loevy & Loevy has won more in jury verdicts against law enforcement abuses than any other firm in the region.Â
A copy of the suit, Kurt Kopek v. City of Aurora, et al., Case No. 10-cv-5593, is available upon request by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.