Clout in Chicago

CHICAGO (CN) – A man claims he was victim of a hit-and-run at the hands of a “highly political and influential” hotel heir, and that Chicago cops unjustly arrested him after the incident. John Ibarra claims that Matthew Pritzker – an heir to the “Hyatt dynasty” who has political ties with City Hall – hit Ibarra’s bike with his SUV, then fled, but was issued only a traffic ticket, while Ibarra faced criminal charges.

     In his federal complaint, Ibarra claims he was riding his bike in Chicago in July 2009 when Pritzker approached in his SUV, “speeding and driving erratically.” When Pritzker almost hit him, Ibarra says, he tapped the door of the SUV to let Pritzker know he was driving too close.
“Pritzker then began to hit plaintiff Ibarra while on his bicycle with his (Pritzker’s) vehicle and squeezing plaintiff up against the curb … trying to force plaintiff off the road,” Ibarra says.
     Ibarra says he hit the SUV with his bike lock, in self-defense.
     “Pritzker then attempted to run over plaintiff Ibarra with his SUV,” Ibarra says. he says the Pritzker smashed into his bike with the grille of his SUV, and his “bicycle was thrown under the SUV.”
Ibarra says Pritzker then “drove off while dragging Plaintiff’s bicycle under his SUV, speeding at approximately 40-50 miles per hour.”
     When the bicycle came out from under, it popped a tire on the SUV and “Pritzker continued to flee the scene, speeding with a flat tire,” Ibarra says.
Ibarra says he and witnesses called 911, and the police officer who responded said “that he was going to charge the driver (unknown at the time to be Defendant Pritzker) with attempted murder.” (Parentheses in complaint.)
     More cops arrived. Police found Pritzker and brought him back, Ibarra says, and witnesses described the hit-and-run.
     But when the cops found that Pritzker had clout at City Hall, Ibarra says, “The Chicago Police Defendants attempted to cover up the evidence against Pritzker and intimidate witnesses to change their statements in an effort to protect Defendant Pritzker due to his political connections and family influence.
     “The Chicago Police Defendants also tried to get Plaintiff to change his statement about what really happened.
“The Chicago Police Defendants altered reports about the incident.
“One or more of the Chicago Police Defendants stated that Plaintiff ‘deserved what he got.'”
     Then, Ibarra says, the cops arrested him and he was “criminally charged and maliciously prosecuted,” while Pritzker received only a traffic ticket. He also claims the cops “fabricated evidence to cover up the assault and battery of plaintiff by defendant Pritzker.”
     “The Pritzker family is very influential in the city of Chicago, with numerous locations bearing the Pritzker family name,” the complaint states. Members of the Pritzker family often make Forbes’ lists of the “World’s Richest People” and “400 Richest in America.”
     Ibarra sued the City of Chicago, Matthew Pritzker, Chicago police Officers Michael Hillman and Daniel McDonald, Sgt. Barbara Sydel and an unknown sergeant and officers. He demands damages for false arrest, false imprisonment, unlawful detention, conspiracy, malicious prosecution, assault and battery, negligence, emotional distress and civil rights violations.
     He is represented by Dana Kurtz.

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