Judge blocks suspension of 2 cops who sued city
Jury ruled their grievances led to retaliation

March 21, 2007
BY FRANK MAIN Crime Reporter

A federal judge has blocked the city from suspending two police supervisors who won a discrimination lawsuit against the Chicago Police Department.

In April 2006, a federal jury awarded Sgt. Nancy Lipman $250,000 and Lt. Diane B. O'Sullivan $50,000. About two months later, Lipman and O'Sullivan were notified of one-day unpaid suspensions, which they contested in court, claiming retaliation.

Punished after grievance

"By attempting to follow through with suspensions against the plaintiffs despite the jury's verdict, the city has conclusively made the case against itself that its retaliatory conduct is likely to persist in the future," Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Cole wrote in a stinging opinion signed last Thursday.

The trouble for Lipman and O'Sullivan began in 2000 when they filed a grievance against their commander, Marienne Perry, saying she removed white officers systematically and replaced them with black officers. Perry is black, and Lipman and O'Sullivan are white.

A month later, a police Internal Affairs agent filed disciplinary charges against Lipman and O'Sullivan for failing to immediately provide him with thorough, written reports to back up their grievance.

In 2001, Lipman and O'Sullivan sued the city, claiming the police department was retaliating against them for filing their grievance.

Jury calls it retaliation

After a trial in Cole's courtroom, a jury agreed that the city retaliated against Lipman and O'Sullivan, but the jury exonerated Perry, who is now retired.

Then last year, the city tried to suspend Lipman and O'Sullivan based on the Internal Affairs complaints against them, leading to last week's injunction by Cole.