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Elgin police officer accused in beating resigns
By Harry Hitzeman | Daily Herald Staff

Chris Darr


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Published: 6/19/2008 12:07 AM

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An Elgin police officer accused of beating a handcuffed suspect in the back of a squad car has resigned.

The last day for Chris Darr, 32, with the Elgin police department is June 30, said spokeswoman Ann Dinges.

Darr, a seven-year veteran, was stripped of his police powers and placed on paid leave in April after he was charged with assaulting Kevin Schwartz of South Elgin on Jan. 1.

Dinges said Darr submitted his resignation letter to Police Chief Lisa Womack on Monday.

The letter did not state a reason for the resignation, Dinges said.

In the Jan. 1 incident, a brawl broke out on the eighth floor of the Holiday Inn on Airport Road and Chris Darr's father was severely beaten.

Jack Darr, a former Elgin deputy chief who worked security for the hotel that night, suffered broken ribs and a punctured lung.

Chris Darr, who was off duty at the time, is charged with beating Schwartz.

Overall, nine people were arrested after the melee.

But charges against Schwartz were later dropped and he filed a $5 million federal police brutality lawsuit against Chris Darr, the city and the department.

Gary Johnson, Darr's defense attorney, could not be reached for comment Wednesday. Johnson has said Darr plans to plead not guilty to the charges next month.

Van Richards, another attorney who has represented Darr in court, also could not be reached for comment.

Michael Oppenheimer, an attorney who represents Schwartz in the federal lawsuit, said he believes Darr and other officers worked together to beat Schwartz and later cover it up with charges against him.

"(Schwartz) didn't do anything in the case," Oppenheimer. "Most cops are good cops, but it's one less bad member of the police force if (Darr) resigned."

Darr is next due in Kane County court on July 17.