A jury decided Friday that former Chicago police Detective Beth Svec is entitled to more than $4.35 million in damages under the Illinois Whistleblower Act.
Svec sued the Chicago Police Department for retaliating against her in 2016 after she brought forward evidence contradicting two officers’ accounts of an arrest.
As the jurors filed out of the courtroom, Svec pulled down her mask, placed her hand on her heart and mouthed “thank you” as tears welled in her eyes.
“It was a hard, hard fight,” said one of Svec’s lead attorneys, Torri Hamilton, outside the courtroom. “This is important for other police officers to see. A jury will have your back.”
Svec, dressed in police black and blue with a badge pendant hanging from her necklace, says she still supports the police. “I hope this never, ever happens to another police officer,” she said.
As detailed in the original complaint, Svec was a detective in Area 2, assigned by her superiors to a pilot program investigating cases of unlawful gun possessions in 2015. On May 30, 2016 , she was investigating a case in which two officers were pursuing felony charges against two men for unlawful possession of a firearm and for assaulting an officer.
While conducting her investigation, Svec testified that she found evidence including a video that contradicted the accounts of Officer Brandon Ternand and Officer Robert Caulfield .
Svec notified the officers, her supervisors and the assistant’s state’s attorney of her findings, she said. The Cook County state’s attorney’s office rejected the request of officers to charge the two arrested men and notified the CPD Bureau of Internal Affairs, Svec’s complaint states.
In the weeks after the arrest and investigation, Svec was transferred out of Area South to the Englewood neighborhood. Later that year, she found herself reassigned to the midnight shift, which she said she hadn’t worked since her first few years as a police officer.