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Off-duty Chicago Cop in Battery Case was Drunk

CHICAGO -- An off-duty Chicago police officer was legally drunk when he damaged a bar and later struck two Forest Park officers and a paramedic Saturday night, police in the west suburb said Monday.

Forest Park police arrested Richard Schmidt, 25, an Englewood District patrol officer, after he allegedly jumped backward onto tables, breaking them, at Slainte Irish Pub, 7505 Madison St., said Forest Park Deputy Chief Thomas Aftanas.

Schmidt became combative and struck two officers after he was taken to the Forest Park police station, said John Gorman, a spokesman for the Cook County state's attorney's office.

Schmidt elbowed one officer in the face and attacked a sergeant, Aftanas said. Police used a Taser on one of Schmidt's legs to subdue him, he said.

Police called paramedics for Schmidt, who was bloodied from the altercation, but he allegedly spit blood in a paramedic's face and struck him, Gorman said.

Schmidt was treated at Oak Park Hospital, where it was determined that his blood-alcohol level exceeded 0.08, the legal limit if he had been driving, Aftanas said.

Neither the officers nor the paramedic was seriously injured.

Schmidt was charged with four counts of aggravated battery and criminal damage to property, police said. He appeared in court Monday in the Maywood branch and was ordered held on $10,000 bail. He is scheduled to appear again in court Tuesday, Gorman said.

Schmidt, who was on the force for two years, was stripped of his pay, gun and badge pending a departmental investigation, said Monique Bond, a Chicago police spokeswoman. The Independent Police Review Authority, which investigates allegations of police misconduct, also opened an inquiry.

In a statement Sunday, Chicago Police Supt. Jody Weis, who took office Feb. 1, said the department has "zero tolerance" for officers who violate department integrity.

The department said Monday it has begun reviewing its policies on alcohol abuse by officers.

arozas@tribune.com

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