Despite the risk of the job, Chicago Fire Fighters are not above the law. They are subject to the same laws that govern others and must be held accountable for any and all infractions. The Blake Horwitz Law Firm works tirelessly to ensure that fire departments are held accountable for acts of misconduct within the department, which can include coercion, intimidation, harassment falsified evidence, corruption, excessive force, invasion of privacy, and physical or sexual abuse.
Turning a blind eye to what is happening within their department is, unfortunately, a common occurrence. Firefighters are being convinced that they are looking out for their subordinates or perhaps afraid to go against the department’s culture, commonly referred to as “code of silence”. This atmosphere of silence cannot continue, and the attorneys at The Blake Horwitz Law Firm are passionate about taking a stance against any abuse of power.
A case that the attorneys at The Blake Horwitz Law Firm worked diligently for was Joseph Smith v. Captain Mark Altman and The City of Chicago.
In this case, Mr. Smith is a Chicago Police Officer, who was extensively trained in marine and underwater rescue as a city of Chicago Marine Unit officer and responded to a call of two individuals who fell into the Chicago River to assist with the search and rescue effort. Chicago Fire Department Captain Mark Altman, without provocation, told Mr. Smith to leave the scene, despite Mr. Smith being in full uniform as a City of Chicago Marine Unit officer, and then grabbed Mr. Smith and threw him onto the ground. Mr. Smith suffered severe injuries as a result of this unprovoked act of violence that led to him needing surgery. As a result, the City of Chicago agreed to settle the federal lawsuit for $1.3 million.
However, the legal battle is not finished. Mr. Smith was demoted as retaliation, and The Blake Horwitz Law Firm has filed another case to fight for the rights of Mr. Smith.
To add to the overall corruption and misconduct within the Chicago Fire Department, when Mr. Smith’s supervisor, Sgt. Eduardo Beltran, attempted to arrest Captain Altman for the physical assault at the firehouse that Captain Altman was located.
Eduardo had to leave the firehouse without Captain Altman due to receiving a call from “higher-ups” in the police department who wanted him to drop the matter. The fire department did not take any disciplinary action towards Captin Altman and even promoted him from captain to battalion chief in 2013 while the suit was still being battled in court.
Copeland v. Lieutenant Johnson and The City of Chicago: An active Chicago Firefighter was severely struck by a superior officer, for no probable cause, while on duty at a regular meeting in the firehouse. As a result of this physical violence, Mr. Copeland suffered brutal injuries to his left eye, lip, head, and back, including losing consciousness immediately after his head was struck to the ground.
Heard v. Captain Jakubec and The City of Chicago: Mr. Heard, made a work delivery to a firehouse, as part of his daily job routine was sexually harassed by a Chicago Fire Department Captain. As a result, Mr. Heard suffered extreme emotional distress. Not all Chicago Fire Department personnel conduct themselves in this type of unlawful manner, but those who do must be reprimanded for their actions.
If you have been a victim of any misconduct by the Chicago Fire Department, call our firm so we can begin to uncover the truth and fight for your rights today.