(STMW) -- A 23-year-old man filed a federal lawsuit Thursday claiming his constitutional rights were violated after several Glenview and Chicago police officers lied under oath during a hearing at a Cook County courthouse.
Officers from the Village of Glenview and Chicago Police Department stopped the plaintiff, Joseph Sperling, in north suburban Glenview after he failed to use his turn signal, according to a federal lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court.
According to the suit, Glenview police are required to record every traffic stop using audio and visual recording devices from their squad car. However, in June 2013 – the day Sperling was stopped – a Glenview officer disabled his vehicle's recording devices at the request of a Chicago officer.
After removing Sperling from his vehicle, police recovered drugs from the vehicle, the suit said. The plaintiff was later charged with felony drug crimes.
Unknown to the officers, however, was that one of the other Glenview squad cars at the scene was still recording the incident, the suit said. Sperling's attorney had obtained a copy of that video and played it during a March 31 hearing.
The video revealed that all officers lied under oath during the hearing, the suit said.
"Obviously this is very outrageous conduct … All officers lied on the stand today … All their testimony was a lie," presiding judge Catherine Haberkorn said at the March 31 hearing, according to the suit. "So there's strong evidence it was a conspiracy to lie in this case, for everyone to come up with the same lie …. Many, many, many, many times they all lied."
Each of the officers testified in court that a bag containing illegal drugs was in plain view in the back of the car, that the plaintiff was arrested only after the drugs were found, that Sperling walked to the rear of the vehicle while police conducted their search and that the plaintiff admitted to drugs being in the car, the suit said. The officers also testified that they asked for Sperling's insurance and driver's license. All of these claims turned out to be false, according to the suit.
Following the judge's statements, all charges were dropped against Sperling, according to the suit.
According to court records, Sperling was charged in 2013 with three felony counts for possession of drugs with intent to delivery. Those charges were all dropped, court records show.
In an unrelated incident, Sperling was charged in 2009 for possession of marijuana with intent to delivery. In 2011, he was found guilty and sentenced to two years at the Illinois Department of Corrections.
The suit is seeking unspecified damages for violating the plaintiff's fourth, fifth and fourteenth amendments, which include unlawful search and seizure, right to due process, among others, the suit said.
It was not immediately known why Chicago police were in Glenview for a traffic stop initiated in Glenview. Calls made to the Glenview and Chicago police departments were not immediately returned Thursday evening.
(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2014. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)
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