Friday, February 23, 2007


$9 mil. award for crooked cop's terror
Relieved ATF agents: 'We didn't want to sue the city at all'
February 23, 2007
BY NATASHA KORECKI Federal Courts Reporter Two ATF agents say they waited 15 years to see justice against corrupt Chicago cop Joseph Miedzianowski.
On Thursday, justice came in the form of $9.75 million.
A federal jury awarded Diane Klipfel and Michael Casali the significant sum after finding the city failed to properly investigate their reports of corruption by Miedzianowski, leaving him free to terrorize the couple for years.
Klipfel quietly put her hand over her mouth as she heard the jury verdict. Her husband patted her on the back.
"I'm relieved the 15-year ordeal is over with and that justice was served," Casali said.
Klipfel criticized the city for spending resources to defend a bad cop who is now serving a life sentence for operating a major drug ring and protecting gang-bangers and murderers.
"If they would have just turned that into some kind of investigation in the police department," Klipfel said. "We didn't want to sue the city at all. All we wanted was Miedzianowski taken care of."
Suffered for yearsAs an ATF agent, Klipfel worked on a case with Miedzianowski in 1992 when she reported he robbed a drug dealer.
The couple claims the city and police department encouraged a code of silence that kept anyone from reprimanding Miedzianowski.
Klipfel, who said she was later forced to leave her job, said Miedzianowski turned the investigation on her.
The couple said they suffered for years as Miedzianowski stalked them and surveilled their house, forcing her to live apart from her husband and move her children to other states.
Miedzianowski was charged criminally with other corrupt acts years later.
The couple said the police department's probe into Miedzianowski was a sham.
And so did jurors.
"What investigation did the Chicago Police Department do?" juror Joe Karl said. "Mike and Diane were wronged. It was the city's policies that created that."
Juror Megan Cox said the police investigation into Klipfel's complaints "lacked thoroughness," and she called it "incompetent."
'A scary, scary man'Cox, Karl and juror Steve Friedman said seeing Miedzianowski and hearing him talk -- even though it was video testimony -- convinced them of the couple's story.
"He is a scary, scary man," Karl said. "A frightening man."
The trial stretched five weeks and saw Chicago Police Supt. Phil Cline testify he had a role in three internal investigations of Miedzianowski, but the officer was never disciplined in any of them.
The couple's lawyer, Sally Saltzberg, said the city never offered to settle.
The city said it negotiated but was unable to reach an agreement.
"We're disappointed with the verdict and we're reviewing our appellate options," said Chicago Law Department spokeswoman Jennifer Hoyle.

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