A traffic altercation led to a recent investigation by the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office into the conduct of an off-duty North Chicago police officer, but he was cleared of any wrongdoing.
The officer was traveling on Oct. 22 near Routes 132 and 41 in Gurnee, and tried to pass a car so he wouldn’t have to listen to loud music blasting from the vehicle, said Gurnee Police Cmdr. Jay Patrick.
But the occupants of that vehicle said the officer swerved at them and nearly struck their vehicle, Patrick said.
At the next red light, three people got out of the car. The officer grabbed his badge and had his off-duty firearm down at his side, Patrick said. When the officer realized the people from the other car were unarmed, he put the gun in his pocket, Patrick said.
Two men from the other car yelled at the officer, and one took off his shirt, Patrick said.
When everyone moved to get back in their cars, one man walked around the back of the officer’s vehicle, Patrick said.
That’s when some witnesses claimed the officer appeared to intentionally back up, nearly striking the man, Patrick said.
The officer said he was concerned for the man’s safety, and meant to move his car forward but accidentally put it in reverse, Patrick said.
No one was struck or injured during the incident.
The Lake County State’s Attorney’s office reviewed the case and declined to file any charges. Investigators decided the officer “was justified in his actions,” Patrick said.