A federal jury Friday awarded a 37-year-old Morgan Park man nearly $45 million after reportedly taking less than 20 minutes to determine that Officer Patrick Kelly fired a bullet into his skull in 2010 and misled investigators it was a suicide attempt.
Micahel Laporta can no longer walk or read and he will require round-the-clock care but he's glad "it's finally over."
"We know our sons life would have been different if the city of Chicago and the police department had done their job to get Patrick or Officer Patrick off the street," said Laporta's mother Patty.
Kelly, who has twice been found mentally unfit for duty, never testified at trial. He asserted his fifth amendment rights more than 30 times.
Because the jury found that the city has a widespread problem with disciplining officers, and failed to flag troubled cops like Kelly, Laporta’s lawyer say the verdict sends a clear message.
"The message was clear," attorney Anthony Romanucci said. "Treat all people equally, investigate all allegations of misconduct fairly and transparency and stop trying to kid the citizens of Chicago that police know how to police their own better than how they police citizens."
The city says it is disappointed by the verdict arguing that, ”taxpayers should not be responsible for an off-duty officer’s purely private actions.”
A spokesperson says it has strong legal arguments for an appeal.
"That’s fine," Romannucci retorted. "They can appeal all they want. It would be nice if they would offer an apology or some condolence."
Laporta says what is important is that justice has been served…as for the $44.7 million dollar verdict?
"That was the icing," he said.