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Brutality Claim Against Chicago Can Proceed

CHICAGO (CN) - A federal judge has denied the City of Chicago's motion to dismiss it from a police brutality lawsuit that was filed after the two-year statute of limitations had expired. Robert Cook said the officers intimidated him into silence, which he broke after the state arrested and charged the officers with similar offenses.

Cook sued the city and six police officers in 2006 for a 2002 incident. The City argued that it should be dismissed from the case, because the actions of the officers were not acts of the city.

But Judge Robert W. Gettleman ruled the officers' actions stemmed from de facto policies and a code of silence among city police officers.

One of the defendant officers is Jerome Finnigan.

"Taking plaintiff's allegations as true, the actions taken by Finnigan and the CPD investigator intended to intimidate plaintiff to not press his claim were not simply actions by unauthorized agents, but are part of the custom or usage of allowing and covering up police misconduct alleged by plaintiff," Gettleman ruled. "As such, these actions are considered actions taken by the City for which the City is directly responsible and blameworthy for purposes of equitable estoppel."

Cook claims the six officers forced their way into his home on May 28, 2002 with guns drawn, threw him to the ground, handcuffed him and assaulted him in front of his girlfriend and children.

When Cook threatened to call 911, Finnigan told him, "'You don't want to (expletive) with us. Do you know who we are? We are the (expletive) police. You (expletive) with us, you'll go to prison, you'll lose your job,'" court papers state.

The officers allegedly told Cook that they could plant drugs on him and have him arrested if he reported them.

Cook says he filed a complaint, but the investigator said it was bogus, that he was a drug dealer and that he would lose his job as a firefighter if he pursued it.

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