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Dislocated shoulder has kept clout-heavy cop off job for three years

Updated: October 18, 2012 6:04AM

Three years ago, Chicago Police Officer Timothy P. O’Brien dislocated his left shoulder tackling a suspect.

O’Brien, 35, has been off the job ever since because he “could have difficulty discharging a firearm” with his right hand, according to a city pension fund doctor.

He’s one of the youngest officers on the police disability rolls.

O’Brien, who grew up in Northfield, is a grandson of the late Cook County Circuit Judge Donald J. O’Brien, a longtime political associate of late Mayor Richard J. Daley.

His father, Terrence M. O’Brien, worked as an insurance broker in the early 1970s at the same company as two of the late mayor’s sons — William Daley and John Daley.

Terrence O’Brien, now a real estate appraiser who has worked on government projects, is chairman of the Cook County Zoning Board of Appeals and chairman of the Illinois Motor Vehicle Board for Secretary of State Jesse White.

Tim O’Brien would not talk with a reporter about his disability case or when he might return to work.

He joined the police department on Aug. 26, 2002. Nearly six years into his career, he came under investigation by the department’s Independent Police Review Authority after he got into a fight at a family wedding at the Knickerbocker Hotel on April 6, 2008. O’Brien sued the groom’s uncle and cousin, claiming they beat him up.

Asked about its investigation of O’Brien, the Independent Police Review Authority would say only that the case “did not result or has not yet resulted in a final outcome in which disciplinary action was imposed.”

The 5-foot-4, 154-pound O’Brien was injured on July 27, 2009, when he landed on his left side in the tackling incident and went on disability about a year later. He underwent two surgeries, on Sept. 10, 2009, and on May 19, 2010.

“His work status currently is off-duty because he cannot currently protect his weapon due to his shoulder limitation, and he could have difficulty discharging a firearm due to his limitation,” wrote the pension fund’s Dr. Peter Orris in an August 2010 report.

Still, “The patient’s disability is improving, and if he continues to improve and continue appropriate rehabilitation, it is suggested that he be re-examined in approximately six months,” Orris wrote.

O’Brien was making $68,262 when he got hurt. He now gets $54,873 a year in disability pay and has gotten more than $100,000 in disability pay so far.

Since O’Brien has been on disability, two lenders have filed lawsuits to foreclose on his condo and a three-flat he owns in Bucktown. He has filed for bankruptcy, saying his only income is his police disability checks.

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