Chicago Cops Accused of Beating Man Because He's Gay

Fri. June 15, 2007 12:00 AM by Kevin Wayne

Attorney calls beating 'hate crime disguised as police work'

Chicago, IL - A Chicago man alleging two Chicago police officers beat him because of his sexual orientation has filed a federal lawsuit seeking over $50,000 in damages.

Alexander Ruppert, 37, alleges two officers, Vincent Torres and Kent Pemberton, beat him so badly in March 2006 that he was sent to the hospital.

According to the suit filed Thursday in U.S. District Court, Ruppert was beaten without provocation when the two Chicago police officers from the 20th District forced him to leave a North Side bar.

The incident began in the Uptown Lounge after officers forced Ruppert to leave and placed him in the squad car. The suit claims that after driving blocks away from the bar, the two Chicago cops began beating the 120-pound man, allegedly using anti-gay slurs while hitting him in the face and head.

"He begged them to stop," attorney Michael Oppenheimer told reporters Thursday during a news conference. "It was only when he told them he had AIDS that they stop the vicious beating. And it was only after he bled all over their car that they called for medical attention."

Rupert used his cell phone to call his partner, who overheard the beating and slurs. He was eventually taken to a hospital, where he received 16 stitches.

The suit also alleges Ruppert was held by Chicago police for two days without food or water forcing him to drink from the toilet to avoid dehydration.

"It is not only a crime against an individual. It is a crime against a community," attorney Jon Erickson told reporters at Thursday's news conference. "This was a hate crime disguised as police work."

Torres and Pemberton remain on duty.

This lawsuit is part of a string of recent misconduct claims against Chicago police.