UPDATED 03/22/11 1:39 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) – A cash reward is now being offered, in hopes of getting to the bottom of an incident in which two University of Chicago grad students say were beaten without provocation by Chicago Police officers.
Matthew Clark and Gregory Malandrucco announced with their attorneys Wednesday that they are offering a $10,000 reward to find locate the officers who beat them in the parking lot of Arturo’s Tacos, 2001 N. Western Ave., in an incident a year ago.
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Earlier this week, the men played new video of the incident, and a 911 call from that night when Clark dialed for help. They say it contains audio from a plainclothes officer who stopped the call by hitting Clark.
They were so severely beaten they ended up in the hospital.
Clark has a University of Chicago Ph.D. Malandrucco is close to getting his doctorate.
They say the attack was unprovoked, and came after Malandrucco, while trying to put on his coat, accidently bumped one of the officers as they prepared to leave after eating at the taco restaurant.
When they got to the parking lot, Clark said the officers attacked them both.
The officers were allegedly waiting for them in the parking lot, and began to yell at the men in an aggressive manner, the men’s lawsuit filed last year claims. The two men attempted to calm the officers down by trying “to shake hands, make peace and suggesting that everyone go home since nothing had happened,” the suit said.
It was at that time that the male officer “without warning” punched Clark and began to strike him repeatedly, throwing him to the ground, the suit said.
The plainclothes officers then held Clark down and “brutally beat him until he lost consciousness,” according to the suit.
The men said as they were beaten, a woman on the scene told them, “They’re cops; they’re going to beat your ass.” They also said Wednesday that a sidearm was visible on one of the hips of the men who beat them, indicating that he was a plainclothes police officer.
When Malandrucco attempted to stop the beating, according to the suit, the officers “responded by beating (him). (They) threw Mr. Malandrucco to the ground, hitting his head against the concrete and knocking him unconscious.”
Clark said uniformed officers arrived after he called 911.
The suit says that at least three uniformed police officers arrived on the scene in marked squad cars. At one point, one of the uniformed officers “switched places with the plainclothes officer who was on top of Mr. Malandrucco, holding him down and striking him in the process,” according to the suit.
Another one of the uniformed officers allegedly kicked or kneed Malandrucco, the suit said.
Clark was “bleeding profusely from the wounds on his head” and Malandrucco “was also bleeding from the wounds on his face,” the suit said.
Though they “begged” the uniformed officers to help, the officers allegedly accompanied the plainclothes officers to their car and told Malandrucco and Clark to “go home and forget the incident ever happened,” the suit said.
The city has not commented because the case is in litigation. The men have filed suit and have set up a toll-free hotline to seek information: (800) 621-3908.