WILL COUNTY, Ill. (CBS) - It was a high-profile case that became a high-profile mistake – right at election time. Will County arrested and charged the wrong man. It’s not the first time, and now, a challenger to the sheriff says it’s time for change. CBS 2’s Kristyn Hartman reports.
The challenger’s name is Pete Piazza. He’d like to be the new sheriff in town. He says people need to be able to trust law enforcement. He believes, in recent years, Will County’s broken that trust – and that the case of Officer Brian Dorian feeds into that.
“I think there was mistrust before, and this just adds to it,” said Piazza.
“This” would be the Brian Dorian case. Will County dismissed a murder charge against him, just like it did a number of years ago with Kevin Fox.
The current Sheriff, Paul Kaupas, was in charge during both cases.
Piazza has something to say about the “wrong guy” arrests.
“There’s people’s lives involved, their families,” said Piazza. “It’s sad. Things need to change.”
How would he change them?
“You will never see me use this office for political gain,” he said – meaning using cases for face time at election time.
In Dorian’s case, he doesn’t think it turned out that way. We asked if he believed it began that way.
“I don’t know. You’ll have to ask him that question,” said Piazza.
Kaupas wasn’t available. But his spokesman, Pat Barry said, “Dorian had a court date of November 11th. That would have been after the election. This is not helping a political race – definitely nothing political here.”
Just complicated, perhaps, if you listen to the sheriff’s comments Tuesday after it was announced they were dropping the charge against Dorian.
“We were on the fence on this case. I mean, like you said, we were letting evidence take us where we were supposed to go, and we had questions in our own mind,” said Kaupas.
Piazza says things like the Kevin Fox case have cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars in settlements.
Barry says not so.
As for Officer Dorian, Barry tells CBS 2 he wasn’t a suspect pulled out of thin air. There were positive ID’s, truck and loud muffler matches — and the list goes on.