Illinois State Trooper arrested for ordering people to strip on routine traffic stops
An Illinois State Police trooper demanded that a young couple he found stopped along Interstate 94 strip as an impromptu punishment for several minor offenses, including underage drinking, the man and woman testified Wednesday.
Both said Trooper Jeremy Dozier ordered them to take off all their clothes and urinate in a roadside ditch last June 16 after he stopped his unmarked squad behind their parked car on a darkened stretch of tollway near Northbrook.
"He told us we had to strip. He demanded we strip,'' said Maria Boyko, now 19, recounting how Dozier allegedly stood beside her open car door, watching by flashlight as she removed her clothing.
Boyko and her fiancee, 23-year-old Dimitry Baum, both testified they stripped down to their underwear, but then sped away when the trooper stepped back from their car.
Dozier, 32, was charged by Cook County authorities with a variety of offenses, including official misconduct, bribery, intimidation and unlawful restraint, after the couple called police on a cell phone to report the alleged harassment.
Following his arrest, Dozier also was charged in Lake County for allegedly harassing motorists in two similar incidents in Antioch and Gurnee last year. Judge Thomas Fecarotta, who is presiding over Dozier's Cook County trial, has ruled prosecutors can tell jurors about those Lake County arrests.
As Dozier's trial opened in Rolling Meadows, his attorneys derided as ''a pack of lies" the allegations made against him by Boyko, who works in a suburban jewelry store, and Baum, a college student.
"Jeremy Dozier was a by-the-book officer,'' defense attorney Ralph Meczyk said. "The charges are nothing but a pack of lies."
He accused the two, especially Baum, of concocting the run-in with Dozier to cover up some illegal activity, possibly drug use. Dozier, a 10-year State Police veteran, has been suspended since his arrest.
COUPLE HAD STOPPED TO URINATE
Baum and Boyko both acknowledged they had been drinking at a nightclub in Chicago before they stopped along the tollway so Boyko could urinate.
She had returned to Baum's car when Dozier stopped behind them, then gave them both Breathalyzer tests that indicated they had been drinking alcohol. Dozier told the couple he wouldn't arrest them if they suggested an informal, but embarrassing, punishment he could administer on the spot, Baum and Boyko both testified.
Dozier rejected their requests for probation or community service work, both said, prompting Boyko to suggest something else.
911 CALL PLAYED
"I sarcastically said, "Do you want me to strip and run across the highway?' " she testified. "He said, 'You don't have to run across the highway.' ''
Jurors also heard a taped 911 call in which Baum pleaded for help while stopped along the tollway.
"The cop is making us take our clothes off. Please help us,'' a panicked-sounding Baum said during the call.
The dispatcher replied: "No cop . . . takes your clothes off.''
But during the call Baum gave the dispatcher the license number -- 1596 -- of the unmarked squad car assigned to Dozier.
After speeding off, Baum agreed to meet a State Police trooper at the Lake Forest oasis to give a statement. But he and Boyko sped away when the state trooper who arrived was Dozier.
They drove to Baum's parents' house in Wauconda, then called police there.