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Allegedly Anti-Gay Cop Off the Streets, For Now

By Joseph Erbentraut in News on Oct 9, 2009 4:20PM

The city's LGBT community (in addition to, ya know, people who don't dig police misconduct) received good news Thursday when it was announced Officer Richard Fiorito has been placed on desk duty pending the resolution of 20-some federal lawsuits alleging his misconduct.

As we previously reported here last month, Fiorito has been accused of framing lesbian and gay motorists for DUI charges, in addition to physically assaulting and verbally harassing them. His continued service on the streets of the oh-so-gay 23rd District amid the charges had been met with outcries from the community. A subcommittee of LGBT residents passed a resolution urging discipline toward the officer in late August.

The CPD had not made much action on the charges, first filed in March, until a press conference Tuesday. There, attorneys representing the plaintiffs released a video, shot from Fiorito's squad car, showing Fiorito giving a field sobriety test to an alleged drunk driver. According to the Windy City Times, though the man in the video, Michael Vaughn, appears to have passed the test, he was arrested anyway.

While the Gay Liberation Network (GLN), the LGBT activist org behind the campaign to remove Fiorito from the streets, recognized the CPD's move as a success, they noted their work on the case was unfinished. In a press release, GLN co-founder Andy Thayer said:

"While we savor this victory, it's important to note that removing Fiorito's policing powers is only a first step -- he is still getting full pay, still is employed by the City, and still is not under arrest despite plenty of probable cause evidence of criminal wrongdoing."

The demand for continued action against Fiorito will be the subject of a community march in Boystown on Sat., Oct. 17, beginning at 7 p.m. at the 7-11, 3407 N. Halsted.