Trucker sues Chicago police officer over road rage, excessive force

| 3/8/2007

A Chicago police officer is being sued for allegedly forcing a trucker off the road and attacking him on the side of the Stevenson Expressway - and Land Line has learned it's not the first time the officer has been accused of abusing his authority.

Chad Overly of Bloomington, IL, filed a federal civil lawsuit Tuesday, March 6, alleging Police Officer Jerome Finnegan cut off Overly in traffic and then assaulted him on the side of the road in November 2005.

The lawsuit also claims that Finnegan drew a gun and used his authority as a policeman to falsely arrest and charge Overly for offenses that were dropped in January 2006.

The suit also names the city of Chicago as a defendant in the case.

Phone messages left for Overly by Land Line weren't returned.

Overly lost his job and couldn't work again until charges against him of reckless conduct and battery were dropped, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Two different Chicago residents Finnegan is sworn to protect have filed federal civil lawsuits against him in recent years alleging that he and other officers abused their power to falsely arrest the plaintiffs.

Thomas Conrad said Finnegan was one of four officers who in June 2003 illegally searched his bar, house, safe and car before arresting and holding Conrad without cause. Conrad's suit also claims the officers took $1,300 from him.

In January 2005, Laura Ramirez and her sons Anthony Ramirez and James Ramirez sued Finnegan and more than 10 other officers who, they claim, retaliated against Laura Ramirez and her family.

Laura Ramirez testified in criminal and civil trials against several officers in the police department's 8th District. The officers were accused of assaulting Ramirez' neighbor Janice Kasper, who was also a police officer.

- By Charlie Morasch, staff writer