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posted: 5/29/2010 12:01 AM

Former cop sues Buffalo Grove, officers over wrongful conviction

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A former Willow Springs police officer filed a federal suit against Buffalo Grove and two fellow law-enforcement officers Friday after spending more than 19 years in a Missouri prison following a wrongful conviction for kidnapping.

Gary Engel's conviction for kidnapping a drug dealer was overturned in February and he was freed last month. Missouri was given 60 days to retry Engel, but did not.

The suit named former Chicago FBI agent Robert Buchan and former Buffalo Grove police officer Robert Quid as defendants, as well as the village. According to the suit, they had previously been defendants in a wrongful-conviction suit filed by former Chicago cop Steve Manning over his conviction in the associated James Pellegrino murder in Cook County in 1990, a case made after they had failed to make a previous Buffalo Grove murder stick against Manning.

The suit identifies Engel as a "friend and associate" of Manning and adds that Engel's ex-wife was Pellegrino's sister.

The suit charges that Buchan and Quid tried to compel Engel to testify against Manning in the Pellegrino case and threatened to charge him with a role in the Missouri kidnapping if he refused, even though he maintained he had never even been to Missouri, and that they followed through on that.

According to the suit, Manning's conviction in the murder was overturned in 1998, his kidnapping conviction followed in 2002, and a subsequent civil-rights case against the officers uncovered new evidence that led to Engel's release.

The Missouri Supreme Court found, in vacating Engel's conviction in February, that "material, exculpatory evidence had been withheld" from his defense and that a key witness had been paid for his testimony.

The new suit charges that Buchan and Quid deprived Engel of his right to a fair trial in that they "deliberately withheld exculpatory evidence, as well as fabricated false reports and other evidence."

Manning's case against Quid and Buffalo Grove "was settled for a confidential sum, and without an admission for liability," according to the suit. He won a $6.5 million jury judgment against Buchan and another FBI agent, although that was later "barred" on appeal.

Quid, who has retired to Fort Myers, Fla., declined to comment, and Buchan, also retired, could not be reached for comment. The FBI declined formal comment as well.

Engel's suit was filed by the Chicago firm of Loevy & Loevy, which filed a suit on behalf of Ronald Bell in his videotaped beating by Streamwood police officer James Mandarino on Thursday.

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