Carpentersville man sues police over 2011 drive-by arrest
Abraham Barajas will never forget his 23rd birthday.
Arrested and charged with five counts of attempted murder in connection to a July 20, 2011 drive-by shooting, the Carpentersville man spent a week in the Kane County jail, including his birthday, before posting bond.
Barajas, now 24, lost his job as a caddie at a North suburban county club and had to pay an attorney to defend him against the charges, which prosecutors eventually dismissed in August 2012, said Barajas' new attorney, Kenneth Apicella.
Barajas recently filed a federal lawsuit against the Carpentersville police department and four officers, arguing he was falsely arrested and the victim of a malicious prosecution.
The suit seeks damages for intentional infliction of emotional distress and accuses police of purposely withholding evidence that proved Barajas's innocence.
Apicella said police failed to assign a detective to thoroughly investigate the case and never interviewed a witness that put his client at a different location than the shooting.
Apicella also noted that police administered a gunshot residue test on Barajas, but took over a year to send it to the state crime lab and it eventually came back negative.
Asked if not sending the GSR test to the state crime lab could have been an oversight, Apicella responded: "If they want to call it a simple mistake, it's a simple mistake that shouldn't happen."
"There are a lot of things we expect to come out through discovery," he added.
Carpentersville village attorney James Rhodes could not immediately be reached for comment.
Apicella said Kane County prosecutors are not named in the suit because they are granted immunity in prosecuting cases and also decided to ultimately dismiss the charges.
"In fairness, after being shown the evidence, or lack of evidence, it was the Kane County prosecutors who decided to (dismiss) the case," Apicella said.
At the time of the shooting in the 0-99 block of Birch Street, Barajas, an admitted gang member, told officers he rode his bike to the scene to check on his friend, police said.
The shots damaged a Chrysler Concord; no one was injured.
Police said the intended victims, four men and a woman, said they knew Barajas and that he fired at them.
No immediate court date has been set for Barajas' federal lawsuit to be heard by a judge. Barajas has asked for a jury trial.