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Article updated: 4/24/2013 5:28 PM

Wisconsin man sues ex-Schaumburg officers

By Barbara Vitello

A Beloit, Wis., man has filed a lawsuit in Cook County against the village of Schaumburg and two former undercover police officers who he says arrested him falsely, planted drugs and paraphernalia on him, withheld evidence from his attorneys and violated his constitutional rights.

Attorneys for Chris Nelson, 28, filed the lawsuit last week naming former officers John Cichy and Terrance O'Brien, who face charges in DuPage County of drug conspiracy, delivery of a controlled substance, theft and official misconduct after authorities say they sold drugs they skimmed from seizures. A third former officer, Matthew Hudak, was not named in the suit, which seeks a minimum of $50,000 in damages.

All three former officers resigned in January. They have pleaded not guilty to the criminal charges.

According to the lawsuit, Nelson and his friend Caesar Hernandez, 22, had just left a Schaumburg nightspot and were in separate cars parked near each other when Cichy and O'Brien approached them with drawn weapons, handcuffed the men and arrested them. Nelson denies he or Hernandez committed any crimes. Nelson also alleges that the officers planted cocaine, a scale and plastic Baggies in his car to make it look like he had been involved in a drug transaction.

According to Schaumburg police reports, a confidential informant working with the former officers arranged to purchase cocaine from Hernandez, who went by the nickname "Monster," on Aug. 7, 2012. The informant met Hernandez, who arrived at the meeting in a vehicle driven by Nelson, the report indicates. After the transaction, officers converged on the car and took Nelson and Hernandez into custody, police reports show. Authorities recovered a locked .357 Ruger handgun -- which had been reported stolen from Janesville, Wis., -- from Hernandez, along with cocaine and other paraphernalia, according to the report. Nelson was wanted on a warrant in Winnebago County at the time of his arrest, police records show. Hernandez was on parole for manufacture and delivery of cocaine.

Cook County prosecutors dismissed charges against Nelson and Hernandez in January. They are among 19 former defendants whose charges prosecutors dismissed over concerns about the credibility of the former officers.

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