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Civil Trial Over Jefferson Tap Fight Begins

Jefferson Tap & Grille (CBS)

Jefferson Tap & Grille (CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) – Three Chicago police officers who were acquitted of criminal charges in connection with a 2006 bar fight were back in court Monday.

The three policemen are among a dozen officers being sued by a group of men who say the officers beat them up during a fight at the Jefferson Tap and Grille in 2006.

Opening statements in the civil-rights trial started at 2:15 p.m. Monday.

The men are accusing the officers of excessive force, failure to intervene and battery, among other things.

It all stems from an early morning fight at the Jefferson Tap on Dec. 15, 2006, involving seven off-duty police officers and four men who were playing pool at the time.

Parts of the incident were captured by six surveillance cameras.

Some of that video was broken down frame by frame to show the jury the fight. Attorneys for the officers say the fight started after someone from the plaintiffs’ group made fun of Paul Powers, who was reportedly crying and distraught over the death of his father.

But attorneys for the plaintiffs say their clients were just playing pool when there was an “attack by six large police officers.”

Also named in the lawsuit are five responding officers who were sent to the scene after 911 calls but left after they were allegedly sent away by two of the defendants. According to the plaintiffs’ attorney, those officers “ran from their duties.”

The plaintiffs are also suing the city of Chicago. The trial is set to resume Tuesday morning and is expected to take about two weeks.