CHICAGO (STMW) — A former CTA bus driver was acquitted Tuesday on charges that he lied about being beaten up by an off-duty Chicago Police sergeant.
But although 43-year Ricardo Mendoza was cleared of disorderly conduct and obstruction of justice, Cook County Judge James Linn lambasted him and called him “selfish and greedy” for filing a federal lawsuit against the city.
“None of this needs to be in court,” Linn said, referencing Mendoza’s criminal case and apparently the $1 million he was seeking in his pending civil suit tied to the Sept. 12, 2009 incident.
Linn made it clear he didn’t believe Sgt. Thomas O’Grady necessarily roughed up Mendoza after he boarded Mendoza’s bus at Monroe and State. Minutes before, O’Grady was riding a bike when Mendoza drove by, almost “killing” him, Linn said.
“I don’t believe he [O’Grady] wanted to batter and beat him,” Linn said. “He may have wanted to give him a piece of his mind.”
The suit claimed O’Grady “savagely” beat and punched Mendoza.
Mendoza initially told investigators that O’Grady also poked him in the eye. But later, Mendoza told authorities he was punched in the face, head and shoulders and had lost consciousness, prosecutors said.
Linn Tuesday said it appeared as if the events blew out proportion as “egos flared” as supervisors became involved.
During the bench trial surveillance video was also shown.
Mendoza’s attorney Steven Muslin called his client’s acquittal “good news.”
Mendoza said he was terminated from the CTA in light of his arrest.
“I just take it day by day,” he said.
Mendoza refused further comment, citing his pending federal lawsuit.
(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2010. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)