Chicago cop stripped of police power faces suit in Portillo's beating

SUN-TIMES MEDIA WIRE - A man has filed an excessive force lawsuit against the off-duty Chicago Police officer who beat him while working security at the River North Portillo’s restaurant in a struggle caught on video, leading authorities to strip the officer of police powers.

After the tussle, Khaled Shaar conspired with four responding officers and the manager of the restaurant at 100 W. Ontario St. to cover up the beating of Terrence Clarke shortly after midnight on June 16, 2015, the 61-year-old Canadian resident alleges in the suit filed Wednesday in Cook County Circuit Court.

Shaar has been relieved of his police powers pending the outcome of an investigation by the Independent Police Review Authority, which is ongoing, authorities said. He is still collecting his $87,384 annual salary, according to city payroll data.

“The Chicago Police Department takes any allegation of misconduct seriously and continues to actively work toward greater accountability and public trust,” according to a CPD statement.

Clarke sat down to eat with his wife and adult son near closing time at the restaurant after attending the Chicago Blackhawks’ Stanley Cup championship-clinching win at the United Center, according to the suit. Other customers were still sitting and eating, so they first ignored Shaar when he told them they had to leave, but the security worker returned and grabbed food from Clarke’s hand before using a pair of handcuffs as makeshift brass knuckles to punch Clarke, the suit says.

Cellphone video taken by other patrons tell a different story from the one logged in police reports after the incident, which claimed Clarke had thrown a cup of cheese and hit Shaar with a chair to prompt the use of force.

Surveillance cameras and patrons recorded the incident from at least five different angles. None corroborate the police account of what happened.

Clarke was treated at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and then hit with felony charges of aggravated battery against an officer. He later pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of disorderly conduct and received a $414 fine and six months of court supervision, records show.

A spokesman for the city’s law department declined to comment on the suit. Also named as defendants are Portillo’s and Jetty Security, the contractor Shaar was working for. Representatives did not immediately return messages seeking comment.

The 12-count brutality suit is seeking more than $600,000 in damages.