Two Chicago Police officers resigned earlier this month rather than go through disciplinary hearings after Supt. Eddie Johnson moved to fire them.
One of the officers fired a gun during an off-duty traffic dispute; the other was his partner, who’s accused of covering for him, the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting.
John Gorman was acquitted of criminal charges he faced from his Nov. 23, 2014, encounter with an off-duty Merrionette Park police officer near Prospect and Pryor Avenues on the Far South Side, following an afternoon of drinking.
But Johnson filed paperwork Feb. 22 recommending that the Chicago Police Board terminate Gorman for nine rule violations, including intoxication, “unnecessary use or display of a weapon” and failing to notify his CPD supervisors that he had fired a gun, police board records show.
Timothy Neylon, who was with Gorman during the altercation, was also recommended for firing because he didn’t provide “the proper notifications,” Johnson wrote.
Their police board cases will be withdrawn, though, because Gorman and Neylon resigned just days later, in early March.
Gorman’s attorney Michael Clancy called Johnson’s motion to fire “a joke.”
“One of, if not the most, respected judges in Cook County ruled Gorman took the least violent option available while being attacked by this person,” Clancy said. “John Gorman served his country overseas and then his city faithfully. He is months from a pension but now will lose it because of cheap politics.”
But CPD spokesman Frank Giancamilli said the former officers are still in line to get their pensions because they weren’t formally terminated. They won’t receive retired law enforcement credentials, though, because they resigned under investigation.
Gorman took home a $90,024 salary last year, and Neylon $96,060, according to city payroll records.
Cook County prosecutors said the off-duty CPD officers had been drinking and watching a Bears game at an American Legion hall when they got in Gorman’s Buick.
The off-duty suburban officer, Dominic Dimaggio, was riding in his friend Charles Ostrowski’s truck when they spotted the Buick weaving in and out of traffic near 111th Street and Pulaski.
Dimaggio said he got out of Ostrowski’s truck a few blocks later and, holding up his badge, pounded on Gorman’s window to see if he was OK. But Gorman, who had an open bottle of beer in his car, drove away when the light turned green, prosecutors said.
They continued following the Buick for several blocks before it stopped, and Gorman got out and fired five shots toward the truck, prosecutors said.
Gorman testified that they were warning shots intended to scare off the truck “barreling” toward him.
“I had no idea who he was or why he was pursuing us,” Gorman said at trial. “I didn’t know if he was someone I had previously arrested or he was trying to carjack us.”
Johnson alleged that Gorman “unjustifiably discharged a firearm at or into a moving vehicle,” the same claim of prosecutors who accused the officer of shooting at Ostrowski’s truck. Three weeks later, Ostrowski discovered a hole — possibly caused by a bullet — on his back bumper.
After the incident, Neylon picked up his car from the 22nd District CPD station a block away, and both men drove home without reporting anything, Johnson claimed.
Hours later, Gorman blew a 0.07 on a Breathalyzer test — within the legal limit — but Johnson contended that the officer’s blood-alcohol content was higher at the time of the encounter.
A misdemeanor DUI charge against Gorman was dropped before his December 2016 bench trial, when Judge James Linn cleared Gorman of aggravated discharge of a firearm and aggravated battery charges, calling it a “road rage” situation and saying he rightfully felt threatened.
Linn acknowledged a “disconnect” between the stories and said neither party started off looking for trouble.