In spite of maintaining that he was “acutely aware” of the fact people are really tired of cops getting off without any sort of repercussions for their (often violent) actions, Cook County Judge James Linn chose to drop charges against an off-duty Chicago police officer who admitted to firing his gun five times during a confrontation with a firefighter and an off-duty cop from another jurisdiction while driving drunk.
As I previously posted here on the CopBlock Network, Chicago firefighter Charles Ostrowski, along with his passenger, off-duty Merrionette Park Police Officer Dominic Dimaggio, began following Officer John Gorman after witnessing him driving erratically. When they eventually caught up to him, Gorman fired five shots toward them, one of which hit the bumper of Ostrowski’s truck. During the trial, Gorman claimed that he fired the gun into the air as “warning shots.”
John Gorman had been drinking before he got behind the wheel on Nov. 23, 2014, but off-duty Merrionette Park police officer Dominic Dimaggio and his friend Charles Ostrowski were behaving aggressively and in an “threatening manner,” Judge James Linn said.
Gorman wasn’t sure who these men in a large “military-type truck” were and what they were up to, Linn said in dismissing aggravated discharge of a firearm and aggravated battery charges.
“This was not a situation [Gorman] started. This was a situation he was confronted with,” Linn said.
Dimaggio and Ostrowski, then an off-duty suburban firefighter, said Gorman almost hit a flower vendor at 111th and Pulaski.
Moments later, Dimaggio got out of Ostrowski’s Ford F-250 and knocked on Gorman’s tan Buick while he was stopped in traffic to ask if he was okay.
Dimaggio said he had been holding his badge the whole time. Gorman said he never saw a badge.
As Dimaggio screamed “why are you driving like an “—hole?” while pounding on his window, Gorman and his partner were rightfully scared not knowing who Dimaggio was, Linn said.
Gorman drove off and Dimaggio called 911. But instead of taking the dispatcher’s advice to let authorities handle the situation, Dimaggio and Ostrowski tailed Gorman as he drove toward the 22nd District, Linn said.
It was at Prospect and Pryor that Gorman said he got out of his car and shot five warning shots in the air as Ostrowski’s truck came “barreling” toward him. Ostrowski said he only hit the gas pedal and went around Gorman because he saw a gun in Gorman’s hand. Ostrowski and Dimaggio said they ducked beneath the dashboard and only heard the gun go off as they passed Gorman.
“I had no idea who he was or why he was pursuing us,” Gorman said of the men.
“I didn’t know if he was someone I had previously arrested or he was trying to carjack us.”
No bullets holes were found on Ostrowski ‘s truck that day.
However, three weeks later, Ostrowski found a hole–possibly caused by a bullet–on his back bumper.
Linn admitted a “disconnect” between the stories and said neither party was looking for trouble that day.
When clearing Gorman of the felony charges, Linn said he was “acutely aware” of the societal feelings of police officers’ conduct. He said while police officers shouldn’t be treated better, they shouldn’t be treated “worse” either.
Obviously, convicting a cop who pulled out a gun while driving drunk and fired off five rounds (even if you buy the story that he shot into the air) while involved in a confrontation with other drivers would certainly be “worse” than the treatment any average citizen would receive under similar circumstances.
It was also announced after the trial to reporters by Gorman’s lawyer, Michael Clancy, that the DUI charge Gorman had been facing had been dropped prior to the judge’s ruling. That decision was made even though Gorman, who wasn’t tested until over five hours after he was arrested, had registered a .07 blood alcohol level, just below the .08 that is considered legally intoxicated.
Kelly is a lifelong resident of Las Vegas, who’s been very active in local grassroots activism, as well as on a national level during his extensive travels. He’s also the founder/main contributor of Nevada Cop Block, served as editor/contributor at CopBlock.org and designed the Official Cop Block Press Passes.
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