Man files suit against Elgin officer

Cop accused of attacking cuffed suspect

  • Chris Darr

    Chris Darr

  • Kevin D. Schwartz

    Kevin D. Schwartz

Published: 5/13/2008 12:19 AM

A South Elgin man who claims he was punched by an Elgin police officer while he sat handcuffed in a patrol car has sued the now-suspended officer and the city, according to court documents.

In a federal lawsuit filed Monday, the man claims officer Chris Darr abused his police power after a New Year's Day fight at an Elgin hotel where Darr's father, a former Elgin deputy police chief, was seriously injured.

Darr is accused of climbing into a squad car and attacking Kevin Schwartz, who was arrested after the brawl, according to the lawsuit, which also names as defendants the Elgin police force and officer Edward Schmidt.

The 32-year-old Darr, who was off duty at the time, told Schwartz, "If you're gonna hit the Elgin police, this is what is going to happen to you," as he threw the first punch, according to court documents.

The 11-count lawsuit seeks at least $5 million, in addition to attorney's fees and other costs, said Chicago attorney Michael Oppenheimer, who represents Schwartz. The case has not been assigned a judge or an initial hearing.

"He was handcuffed behind his back. … Here's a guy who did absolutely nothing wrong," Oppenheimer said Monday. "(Darr) took out his own revenge."

Darr has been stripped of his police powers and been on paid leave since May 9, when he was charged with aggravated battery after the fight at the Holiday Inn on Airport Road.

Schwartz went to a New Year's Eve party at the hotel north of the Northwest Tollway, where Jack Darr, officer Darr's father, was working as a security guard and suffered broken ribs and a punctured lung breaking up the post-midnight brawl.

Schwartz said he and three friends left after the fight but were stopped by Elgin police on Route 31, according to the lawsuit.

That's when Chris Darr arrived in a patrol car, got into the car Schwartz was in and attacked him as other officers looked on, court documents show.

As for the brawl, nine people were arrested, including Schwartz. He was charged with mob action, an offense Kane County prosecutors dropped on Jan 31.

The lawsuit also alleges Elgin police wrote false statements linking Schwartz to the hotel fight.

Schwartz suffered cuts and bruises on his face and head from the beating, "an abuse of power that shocks the conscience," according to the 16-page civil rights lawsuit.

An Elgin city spokeswoman did not immediately respond for comment.

Darr is scheduled to appear in court again May 28, when he could be arraigned on the criminal allegations.