Posts Tagged Chicago Police charges former Chicago deputy fire commissioner with misdemeanor DUI

CFD Deputy Commissioner McNicolas resigns after crash (more)

Excerpts from the

Six Chicago police officers have been given suspensions for giving favorable treatment to a high-ranking Chicago Fire Department official who was allegedly driving drunk when he crashed his city-issued vehicle off North Lake Shore Drive last April, according to a source with knowledge of the incident.

The officers, including three supervisors, were suspended by police Superintendent Eddie Johnson for improper processing and reporting procedures for mishandling the crash involving then-Deputy Fire Commissioner John McNicholas.

Word of the suspensions come about a week after the U.S. Justice Department issued a scathing report that criticized Chicago police for, among other things, of failing to hold officers accountable for wrongdoing.

The suspensions for the six officers ranged from five to 20 days without pay, but four of the officers are appealing their suspensions.

The crash took place a little before 1 a.m. on April 20 on LaSalle Street just west of Lake Shore Drive while McNicholas was off-duty. McNicholas had a blood-alcohol content of 0.154 percent — nearly twice the legal limit of 0.08 percent, according to city records obtained by the Tribune under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act.

But internal investigators with the Fire Department didn’t conduct the Breathalyzer test until 4:32 a.m., more than three hours after the crash, the records show.

Initially, police only issued a traffic ticket to McNicholas for failing to reduce speed. But in June, he was ticketed for driving under the influence of alcohol after the Cook County state’s attorney’s office declined to charge McNicholas with a felony.

McNicholas resigned from the Fire Department after the incident.

thanks Dan

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CFD Deputy Commissioner McNicolas resigns after crash (more)

Excerpts from the

The Chicago Police Department’s Internal Affairs Division is investigating whether the third-highest ranking member of the Chicago Fire Department received favored treatment after crashing his city-owned SUV near Lake Shore Drive in Lincoln Park.

Sally Daly, a spokeswoman for the Cook County state’s attorney’s office, disclosed the existence of an Internal Affairs Division investigation after revealing that former Deputy Fire Commissioner John McNicholas would not be charged with DUI — even though he had a blood-alcohol level nearly twice the legal limit nearly four hours after the April 20 crash.

The breathalyzer was administered by the Chicago Fire Department’s Internal Affairs Bureau. Chicago Police officers were on the scene of the crash for about two hours but never administered a field sobriety test.

Unlike Illinois State Police officers, Chicago Police officers do not carry breathalyzers in their squad cars. If a breathalyzer is administered, it has to be done at the district station. That was not done in McNicholas’ case.

“We reviewed the case based upon the referral from the Chicago Police Department, and the facts of the incident do not meet the legal elements of a felony DUI [prior convictions, great bodily harm that occurred in the incident],” Daly wrote in an email to the Chicago Sun-Times.

“We informed CPD of this [Monday]. It is within their discretion to charge the defendant with a misdemeanor DUI. As for allegations that he received favored treatment, we have been advised that CPD’s internal affairs unit is investigating these allegations. We have not yet heard from IAD as to whether they believe there is evidence based upon that investigation to review for any potential criminal charges.”

Chicago Police Department spokesman Anthony Guglielmi had no immediate comment about the Internal Affairs investigation. Nor would he say whether McNicholas would be charged with misdemeanor DUI.

McNicholas was ticketed for negligent driving.

Excerpts from the

The Chicago Police Department agreed Wednesday to charge the former third-ranking member of the Chicago Fire Department with misdemeanor DUI for crashing his city-owned SUV with a blood alcohol level nearly twice the legal limit.

Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi disclosed the belated charges against former Deputy Fire Commissioner John McNicholas one day after the Cook County State’s Attorney declined to charge McNicholas with felony DUI.

The state’s attorney’s office concluded that the April 20 accident did not meet the legal elements of a felony DUI … but it was within the police department’s discretion to charge McNicholas with misdemeanor DUI.

On Wednesday, the police department did just that.

“The Major Accidents section reviewed the findings and they decided to go ahead and charge misdemeanor DUI based on evidence discovered, including a blood alcohol level obtained by the fire department’s Internal Affairs Division,” Guglielmi said.

Guglielmi also disclosed that an investigation by the police department’s Internal Affairs Division aimed at determining whether McNicholas received favored treatment is nearing completion.

Police Supt. Eddie Johnson will be briefed on the findings in a week or two, the spokesman said. If there is evidence that police officers or firefighters who responded to the scene of the accident treated McNicholas any differently than they would have treated a private citizen, they will be disciplined.

“It could be anything from a one-to-two-day suspension all the way up. It just depends if they find any evidence that the incident was handled inappropriately,” Guglielmi said.

McNicholas resigned after the accident. His annual pension of $100,501 was approved on June 15 by the Chicago Firemen’s Annuity and Benefit Fund. His pension is based upon 75 percent of his final average salary. McNicholas served more than 36 years with the department.

thanks Dan & Dennis

Previous posts on this incident can be found HERE

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