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Cop guilty of dialing in phony bar fight to 911

Chicago Police officer Sean Patrick Dailey.

Chicago Police officer Sean Patrick Dailey.

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Updated: October 1, 2013 6:49AM

Concluding Sean Dailey “selfishly placed officers in potential danger” by reporting a false bar brawl, a judge Friday convicted the Chicago Police officer of disorderly conduct — a felony that could land Dailey in prison.

Cook County Circuit Court Judge William Lacy said Dailey made “lemons out of lemonade” when he failed to take advantage of a break Niles police officer Brian Zagorski tried to give him when he pulled Dailey over after watching him speed through a red light on Nov. 5, 2010, and suspecting him of drunk driving.

Zagorski testified in June that he found Dailey’s vehicle reeking of alcohol, his speech slurred and his eyes bloodshot that early morning. But after Dailey asked him, ‘Do you know who I am?’ and told him he was an off-duty Chicago cop, Zagorski decided not to issue a ticket, nor did he give him a field sobriety test. Rather Zagorski instructed him to park his car and catch a ride home.

Instead Dailey, a tactical officer, went to a nearby motel and phoned in the 911 call about a 50-person bar fight in the hopes of distracting the officer so Dailey could retrieve his car, prosecutors had alleged. Police reported to the scene and found no such fight. Zagorski, who was headed to the scene, said upon learning it was a false report, he returned to where Dailey’s car had been parked, and found it gone.

Dailey has been off duty without pay since the charge was filed, police union spokesman Pat Camden said.

“Further disposition will be determined by the department,” Camden said following the guilty verdict.

Dailey, 35, faces probation to three years in prison.

On Friday, Lacy concluded prosecutors presented credible evidence proving beyond a reasonable doubt that Dailey was guilty of disorderly conduct in making the false claim.

That evidence included a recording of the 911 call in which Dailey was heard telling the dispatcher his friends were calling “screaming” to tell him about a cocaine-fueled bar fight. He was heard telling the female dispatcher that he wasn’t at the bar, but in a later call made by the dispatcher, he said, “I saw it. I got out because I didn’t want to be there.”

Phone records indicated Dailey didn’t dial or get any calls from anyone except 911.

Dailey’s attorney Michael Clancy theorized that Dailey could have received the calls about the fight on another cell phone. But Lacy said there was no evidence to support that, and added if such calls had been received, that raises the question of why Dailey didn’t simply report them to the officer who was still on the scene near his car.

Dailey, the son of a late Chicago Police Cmdr. Maurice Dailey, declined comment after the verdict.

While his criminal case was pending, Sean Dailey, a 13-year veteran, had used up his sick leave and sought to receive disability pay from the police pension fund. The request was deferred pending a medical examination. Details of Dailey’s medical condition were unavailable.

Dailey was one of three Chicago Police officers involved in a botched raid in 2007 resulting in a federal lawsuit that cost the City of Chicago $450,000.

Contributing: Tim Novak


Twitter: @KnowlesFran

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