LYNWOOD | The village’s Police and Fire Board is sticking by its original decision to fire a police officer whose squad car was taken by a man whom police were chasing on foot.
The board met for just over an hour Wednesday night, partially in closed session, before voting 3-0 to again terminate Joseph Marigliano – a six-year member of the village’s Police Department until the board dismissed him last year.
That dismissal ultimately was overturned by Cook County Judge Mary L. Mikva, who ruled earlier this year that the police board did not have sufficient reason to terminate Marigliano, but could still discipline him in some other form for the incident of Dec. 11, 2012.
Timothy Lapp, an attorney advising the police board, said, “The board came to the conclusion that their original decision was correct.”
Upset, but not surprised, by the board’s action was Christopher Cooper, an attorney provided to Marigliano by the Fraternal Order of Police. Before Wednesday’s hearing, Cooper told The Times he expected the board to reinstate Marigliano to be in compliance with Mikva’s court order, then fire him again.
After the hearing, Cooper said Marigliano – who has worked part-time security jobs to tide himself over financially while waiting for his job back – was prepared for what happened.
“I think he expected the board not to adhere to the judge’s order,” Cooper said.
The matter will come up again Monday in Mikva’s courtroom at the Daley Center in Chicago. The judge had scheduled a hearing three months ago to ensure that her ruling back then was complied with.
Cooper said he plans to argue that Lynwood officials are refusing to comply, and need to be penalized in some form, although he did not specify what the penalty could be.
“We’re going to have to go at it on (April) 28th,” Cooper said. “The judge is going to have to resolve this.”
Lapp said he won’t be surprised if Mikva issues a ruling that overturns the board’s latest action.
But Lapp said all that would do is end the portion of this case in the Cook County courts. With that final ruling, attorneys for Police Chief Michael Mears could then file an appeal of Mikva’s ruling to the Illinois appellate courts in Chicago, if they choose.
The legal fighting focuses on the December 2012 incident when Marigliano received a call to assist in a police chase on foot. Marigliano got out of his squad car to help, but did not activate a lockout switch that would have prevented another person from getting in and driving away.
That is what happened when the criminal suspect noticed that Marigliano had stopped his pursuit to help another officer who stumbled and fell. The suspect drove away in the car, but quickly crashed it. The squad car was damaged beyond repair, police said.