Ald. Sharon Dixon (24th) is suing three Chicago police officers she says falsely accused her of driving drunk on Jan. 20, 2009 — the day of President Obama’s inauguration.
Dixon says she had a couple of glasses of wine at a friend’s house in Evanston and was driving home when she was cut off by a police car on Sheridan Road where officers were trying to control traffic near the scene of a fatal Rogers Park fire.
Dixon says she attempted to explain that the police roadblock was confusing and dangerous — but the officers became angry and agitated.
“When they resisted my input, were indignant over my suggestions and disrespectful of my personhood, I stood up to them,” said Dixon at a Wednesday news conference announcing the suit. “I asked them for their badge numbers ... that, asking them for their badge numbers, is what triggered my arrest.”
Police claimed Dixon smelled like alcohol and failed sobriety tests after arguing for 30 minutes.
“They trumped up evidence,” said Dixon’s attorney Lawrence Jackowiak. “Many police officers take asking for a badge number personal, and take it to be ‘contempt of cop.’”
She was arrested, refused a Breathalyzer test, and had her license suspended.
Dixon said she spent seven hours cuffed to a police station wall — and argued that the fact she could endure the lengthy detention without a washroom break was proof she was not drunk.
Dixon also contends “police forced me to wait until the press had arrived and then made me walk out of the front door.”
In February of last year a judge found there had been no probable cause to arrest Dixon for DUI — and the charge was later dropped. Dixon did, however, plead guilty to obstruction of traffic and paid a $200 fine.
Dixon’s reputation was damaged nearly beyond repair, and she is seeking a “significant amount of money,” said Jackowiak. “We expect to go to trial. The only way to achieve justice is by asking for money damages,” said Jackowiak.
Dixon, 47, who majored in criminal justice at the University of Illinois at Chicago, said Wednesday that police officers need to know when to “flex, and when you need to be a human being and listen a little bit.”
The city’s law department had not received a copy of the suit and would not comment.