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Local News

Former Joliet cop found not guilty of federal rights violation

CHICAGO — A former Joliet police officer was found not guilty Friday on federal criminal charges for allegedly using excessive force against a woman while on duty five years ago.

Thomas O'Connor was charged in September 2016 with violating the woman's Fourth Amendment protections while acting as a police officer. O'Connor who was represented by attorneys Michael Ettinger and Jeff Tomczak, faced up to 10 years in prison if he'd been convicted.

"This is now the second jury that truly appreciated what a dangerous situation Thomas O'Connor was presented with alone and appreciated the true nature of Tom's character," Tomczak said. "He was a good officer, a good man and he's a good nurse in the critical care unit at Christ Hospital."

"The only sad part of this is that the government forced him to go through this a second time for no reason. Both juries (state and federal) were out for less than two hours," said Tomczak.

On Feb. 9, 2012, O'Connor was dispatched to Star Inn, 2219 W. Jefferson St., where Shantique Jackson and her former boyfriend were arguing. Jackson told The Herald-News in 2012 that when she attempted to kick her ex in the groin, O'Connor grabbed her, slammed her onto the hood of a car and punched her face 10 to 20 times. She sustained two black eyes, a nasal fracture and bruises on her face and scalp.

O'Connor was fired from the police department four days after the incident and charged with aggravated battery, battery and official misconduct. During a trial in June 2013, he testified he'd punched her as many times as necessary to gain control of a chaotic situation, according to Herald-News files.

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