Suit alleges ex-Schaumburg cops stole cash from suspect
Schaumburg man sues village, 2 ex-officers
A Schaumburg man is suing the village and two of three police officers arrested on drug conspiracy charges last month, alleging they conspired to illegally search his property and stole more than $2,000 from his grandmother's home.
Kelley Altom is seeking undisclosed compensatory and punitive damages in the federal lawsuit stemming from his 2011 arrest by former Schaumburg officers Matthew Hudak and Terrance O'Brien, as well as other unnamed officers. The suit was filed Feb. 8 in U.S. District Court in Chicago.
Altom was charged with production and intent to deliver cannabis as a result of a February 2011 raid of his home, but Cook County circuit court Judge Thomas Fecarotta ruled five months later that police had no probable cause for the search. The charges were subsequently dropped by prosecutors.
Altom's lawsuit alleges that he was shoved to the ground by Hudak and O'Brien during his arrest, and that they pointed their guns at his head even though he posed no threat.
The suit also alleges Hudak lied by reporting Altom told officers he lived in his grandmother's Hoffman Estates home. Police then searched the Hoffman Estates residence, where, the suit alleges, the officers seized $5,000 cash but officially inventoried only $2,820.
"The remaining $2,180 was seized and converted by the defendant-officers," the lawsuit states.
The suit argues that Altom was a victim of a pattern of behavior by Hudak and O'Brien in which they allegedly entered people's homes illegally to steal narcotics and money, and physically abused and intimidated their victims.
Hudak and O'Brien, along with fellow former officer John Cichy, were arrested in January on multiple drug conspiracy charges alleging they stole drugs seized by police and worked with an informant to resell them. The arrests came after a U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency investigation in which, authorities said, they captured some of the officers' actions on audio and video recordings.
Several of the former officers' more recent cases already have been dropped by the Cook County state's attorney's office as a result of the accusations.
Hudak, O'Brien and Cichy subsequently resigned, though an internal investigation by the village continues in tandem with the ongoing criminal prosecution.
Schaumburg Village Manager Ken Fritz said the village had not yet received a copy of the lawsuit and could not comment.
Altom's, Hudak's and O'Brien's attorneys could not be immediately reached for comment Tuesday.