Gay Victim to Contest Chicago’s Motion to Dismiss Cop Beating

The City of Chicago wants the court to dismiss a lawsuit brought by Alexander Ruppert, who sued the city after police took him into custody and then allegedly beat him after he used a cell phone in the back of the patrol car.

Ruppert1As reported by the Chicago Tribune in June: “According to Ruppert’s lawsuit, two officers asked him to leave the bar and put him in the back of a squad car but didn’t handcuff him or arrest him. The officers have not been charged with a crime. They made ‘vulgar comments referring to his sexual orientation’ and after driving him a block away from club, hit him in his face and on his head while calling him names, according to the lawsuit. Ruppert weighs about 120 pounds, while the officers each weigh more than 200 pounds, Erickson said . Ruppert told the officers he was HIV-positive and pleaded for medical attention, the lawsuit said. The officers took him to Weiss Memorial Hospital, where he received 16 stitches for a cut under his left eye and other treatment, the suit said. Simonton said that according to the initial charges, Ruppert was ‘injured during the transport to the police station,’ but she had no further details. The two officers were treated for injuries at a hospital, Simonton said. Ruppert’s lawsuit claimed that the officers’ injuries were not legitimate and included an injury to a knuckle that one officer suffered while punching Ruppert.”

The City has filed a motion to dismiss Ruppert’s lawsuit “because gays aren’t entitled to equal protection under the U.S. Constitution” according to the Chicago Free Press:

‘When we filed the equal protection count, we knew the federal government was behind the curve in recognizing that the equal protection clause should cover sexual orientation,’ said attorney Michael Oppenheimer. ‘We expected more from the City of Chicago. The City’s position is an affront to all residents of this fine city.’ Oppenheimer’s partner, Jon Erickson, said the City’s position surprised him, given the ongoing effort to bring the 2016 Olympics to Chicago. ‘The international community is far ahead in recognizing the equal rights of the gay community,’ Erickson said. ‘To deny gay people equal protection under the law will not play well internationally.'”

Comments

  1. rich says

    This could work in our favor. If enough straight people hear about (and believe) this case. It could make SOME people realize what pervasive discrimination we’re up against.

  2. Tread says

    I’m completely astounded that the lawyers for the City of Chicago would take this approach. It’s incredibly unbelievable that a city that claims it’s all about diversity would go out of their way to try and dismiss a lawsuit because gays aren’t protected equally under the Constitution.

  3. Tread says

    Feel free to call Mayor Daley and tell him why this motion to dismiss is so shocking and puts such a tarnish on Chicago in light of all its recent problems with police:

    312-744-3300

    Remember, keep it polite and to the point.

  4. rich says

    why do all the stories skip WHY he was taken out of the bar in the first place? I’ve read it in a few places, and it always starts with “Escorted him out of the bar…???”

  5. Leland Frances says

    Can’t speak to the situation in other countries, but it remains one of America’s greatest shames that, jurisdiction after jurisdiction, regardless of the orientation, gender, race, age, ethnicity, religious belief, if you are abused by cops you are almost certainly to fail at any attempt to get justice. Civilian police commissions that are supposed to be their watchdogs, local governments and courts will almost invariably side with the cops.
    IF you have ENOUGH money and clout you MIGHT stand a chance, but the average person has none.

    Such rare instances of justice and police privilege intersected big time in the case of Abner Louima. Who would have imagined that, unlike you or me, police under investigation for wrongding in New York City could refuse to speak to ANYONE but their attorneys for 48 hours after a complaint. No “why don’t you have a seat and we’ll talk about it? Donut?” But that part of the city’s agreement with NYC cops [later partially repealed] came to light during the investigation into the brutal rape-torture by mop handle of the handcuffed Haitian immigrant 10 years ago. [Some may remember they blamed his severe internal injuries on “abnormal homosexual activities” even though he was married with a child and there was no evidence he was on the down low. Pundrat Sean Hannity used his national show to insist that the cops’ claims were true, that he had had repeated sex with men and was lying entirely about the incident—until the cop who raped him and paraded the feces and blood dripping mop handle through the police station confessed.

    I think that attorney Johnnie Cochran was pond scum, but if it hadn’t been for someone of celebrity joining the case and Al Sharpton’s keeping the case alive in the press, Abner Louima would have nothing today but nightmares and a colostomy bag instead of what was left from his multimillion dollar settlement after Cochran et al. took one third.

    GOOD cops are to be admired and supported. But it looks like the only justice in Ruppert’s case might be if the police who made his face a bloody punching bag contracted HIV themselves in the process.

  6. Brian says

    Disturbing all around.

    I still haven’t heard much of an explanation regarding why he was escorted out of the bar and sitting in the back of the squad car. But even if he had been falling down drunk and disorderly, he didn’t deserve such humiliating treatment.

    I’ve always liked Chicago, though I admit that it had to grow on me a little first. I live close to the city and go there often. The city’s citation of federal standards is low and reprehensible, but it might work for our favor in that it will bring to light the day-to-day impact of the un-equal legal standing that we gay folks endure on a daily basis.

    Special rights, indeed.

  7. Ryan says

    Chicago has a long history of supporting LGBT civil rights. It is a shame that unfortunate incidents like this happen across America from time to time.

    However, it is the duty and right of the lawyers of the city to file to dismiss this claim because, in fact, it is not a legal claim. In other words, it’s a frivolous claim (so far as the law is concerned). It would be malpractice for them to do anything less. So, don’t impute bad motives against LGBT individuals to the city as a whole based upon what is merely good lawyering.

    What happened to this poor guy, if true, should be addressed legally and in the public eye. Yet, the law is the law for now, and you can’t blame the city for asserting its rights under it.

  8. peterparker says

    LELAND,

    I’m glad someone else mentioned their hope that the cops who punched this poor guy contract his HIV. I’ve been thinking it from the beginning, but have never stated it in print because I figured I would get jumped for being ‘extremist’ (hi, JOE T!). But shame on me for failing to state that first. I hope they get HIV from punching this poor guy.

    As for your assertion that average citizens never prevail when they pursue justice after mistreatment by cops, I completely agree. I think what this kid needs is for thousands (hundreds of thousands?) of gay men to chip in a couple of bucks for his defense so that he can fight this.

    And now, I’m going to play Devil’s Advocate. Is there any way the Chicago city attorneys have filed the motion they have filed simply because they need some sort of legal clarity? Please don’t flame me for siding with the bigots…I think the motion is outrageous and repugnant…I’m just wondering if there is some sort of legal maneuvering that, while appearing to be based in discrimination, is actually simply an attempt at some sort of clarification of laws?

    xo,
    peterparker

  9. Giovanni says

    “The City has filed a motion to dismiss Ruppert’s lawsuit “because gays aren’t entitled to equal protection under the U.S. Constitution”

    Um… WTF?!!!???? Okay, now would be a good time for those of us who have prime time cable news shows to make this story national.

  10. petey says

    Jeff, it matters that he was gay.
    Leland and PP: I can’t wish they get hiv, justice and vengeance are seperate, one ends this crap the other perpetuates it.

  11. Michael Bedwell says

    Can’t speak to the city attorneys’ motivation. It’s a position allegedly sympathetic staff attorneys frequently end up in. New York City attorneys fighting gay marriage. US Attorney General Janet Reno defending DADT in court. And short of a literal gun being held to their heads, I never buy the, “they’re just doing their jobs” excuse. Google “Saturday Night Massacre” Nixon Ruckelshaus for those who rose to the occasion and, believe it or not, they were actually Republicans. There’s even an eventual gay angle as the fascist who did the dirty work they refused to do was the infamous and rabidly antigay Robert Bork who, among other villainies, was a key architect of the Federal Marriage Amendment.

    Ironically, your Devil’s Advocate question leading me there came just a few minutes after I was reading a somewhat similar possible explanation for how California Attorney General Jerry Brown is defending the State against San Francisco’s gay marriage suit. His two-pronged [two-faced?] challenge combines the absurd with the insulting. On the one hand he is saying that “marriage is a ‘constitutionally insignificant label’ and therefore same-sex couples suffer no ‘constitutional injury’ from being denied marriage licenses” and that, having fought for and been granted state-recognized “domestic partnerships,” gays cannot now say they are unequal to marriage. At least one person at Pam’s House Blend is speculating that he’s purposely “throwing the caes.”

    While, as governor, he signed in 1975 the bill decriminalizing sodomy in California, and said during the AF campaign that he had no problem with further legalizing same gender relationships, in 1977 he signed a bill defining marriage as between a man and a woman. You read that right: 1977 — 19 years before professional Bill Clinton haters would have you believe he single-handedly brought the mountain of Man/Woman down on us.

    Who knows what Brown is thinking now. Youngins are probably unaware that he often earned his nickname “Governor Moonbeam.” And that long before he and Linda Ronstadt were allegedly a couple, the rumors were so pervasive that he was gay that I still have somewhere a bumper sticker that reads, “Jerry Brown Goes Down More Than Nuclear Power Plants,” which were distributed by the Lyndon LaRouche campaign in 1980 when both he and Brown were among those running for President.

  12. Zlexar says

    Actually, if you look up the definition of vengeance (or ‘revenge’) in the dictionary, it just says something like “inflicting punishment in return for injury.” It says nothing about it being reasonable or unreasonable.

    Revenge can be just, or it can be unjust. They are different, but not always opposites.

    As far as this case goes, the honest truth is that it is a ‘he said, he said’ situation. We have no idea what really happened. Most likely everyone involved was an asshole, but without witnesses there’s no reliable way to say who is guilty.

  13. Oscar says

    BOYCOTT CHICAGO NOW. Any gay that goes to Chicago as a turist is as guilty to this crime as the City itself. I say BOYCOTT CHICAGO NOW. If we do not have protection in Chicago we should not expend our gay dollars there. Let the City of Chicago feel the pain in their pocket. It is the only way to retaliate this outrage. Although, this action doesn’t surprise me, since the 20s Chicago’s political machine is nothing but goons, gansters and lowlives. This action is much in line with Chicago’s mentality. BOYCOTT CHICAGO NOW.

  14. Kyle Childress says

    While I would eventually support a boycott of Chicago based on this, I think we should give the mayor a chance to respond to it. He has been a very vocal support of gay rights, and in all likelihood the city attorney’s office did not run this by the mayor before filing it. I suspect it will not take Mayor Daly long to rectify this. Of course, if he doesn’t fix it, then the boycott should on, and mercilessly so.

  15. Mike says

    Oh please drama queens – stay away from Chicago because of one incident? Get real. Chicago is a great city and the city has been very supportive of the gay community over the the years. Stay away if this is happening on a regular basis but it is not. Don’t take away from gay businesses because of two bad cops. Bosytown is one of the largest and best gay ‘hoods in the world.

  16. Zlexar says

    Mike, I don’t think people are angry at the city of Chicago because of two cops who may (or may not) have brutalized someone.

    People are angry because the city’s legal department is taking an official position that gays don’t qualify for equal protection in order to nullify the lawsuit. While it may be tactically sensible from a legal position, we all know that “the law often allows what honor forbids.”

  17. Rus says

    It is typical and expected to have the defense attorneys file a motion for the dismissal of a case on the grounds of lack of evidence or something similar. I think, however, considering the severity of the charges of police brutality and abuse of power, they could have come up with a more convincing reason to base their dismissal request. It goes without saying that it is a completely low ball tactic. Unfortunately, it is a completely legal one — sadly allowed for and commonly accepted.

  18. Joshua says

    This sounds like someone is trying for a court clarification of law. Under the equal protection clause of the Constitution…ANYONE who is a citizen(and lately, non-citizens) can file a discrimination suit…..being of a **protected** sub-group just helps(women, blacks, asians, handicapped etc). The police just flat don’t have the right to beat ANY citizen without cause…period.
    This suit should NOT be thrown out and most likly won’t be.

  19. nic says

    this is so eerily familiar. back in the 80’s, my partner and i left a close-to-down-town gay bar in san antonio. we stopped at a 7-11 and bought some snacks. while he was driving, i fed him a bite of a twinkie snack. everything was cool until we were stopped by an sapd officer for allegedly running a stop sign. we had not. this became obvious as a second patrol car arrived and both officers began to beat and handcuff my partner for an alleged assault. when i asked them why this was happenning and asked for their id’s, i was beaten as well.

    needless to say, it took thousands of dollars and worry and heartbreak for us to be found innocent. it cost untold pain and hardship on both my and his families while we fought the STATE OF TEXAS in the guise of these piss-ants, but we won. this shit has to stop. how do we make it happen?

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