By Lolly Bowean
CHICAGO — A former spokeswoman for the Chicago Police Department has accused another officer of assault in the workplace and alleges that her bosses punished her for reporting the behavior, according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday.
Longtime Officer Laura Kubiak is suing the city of Chicago along with two former bosses because she said she was stripped of her post in the department's Office of News Affairs days after her complaint against another officer was resolved. She was then reassigned to the night shift patrolling a violent neighborhood.
"Officer Kubiak's removal from her position as a News Affairs liaison ... and reassignment to midnight beat patrol in a dangerous neighborhood was in retaliation for her complaining of and exposing the unlawful conduct of an officer with a history of violent behavior," the lawsuit says.
Kubiak does not list a specific amount she is seeking but says she wants the financial compensation and benefits she lost as a result of the situation. She is also seeking punitive damages and the cost of her legal fees.
On Wednesday, city officials said they stand by their actions.
"The City believes the evidence will demonstrate that the decision to return Laura Kubiak to her previous assignment was a valid personnel decision in line with CPD's efforts to civilianize the department and put more officers on the street," a spokeswoman said in a written statement.
Kubiak has been an officer since 1986, her lawsuit says. She started as a beat officer and in 2000 was reassigned to News Affairs, where she worked gathering information for the news media, among other tasks.
In November 2012, Kubiak had a confrontation with another officer in the News Affairs office, the lawsuit states. In their office, Kubiak was considered a senior staffer and the officer who confronted her had been assigned to the detail for only three years, according to the lawsuit.
At the time, Kubiak said, she was preparing to leave work when the other officer ran up to her, screaming and shaking his finger in her face. At one point, that officer swung to hit her, Kubiak's lawsuit states.
Kubiak said she reported the incident to her bosses but was unable to get a formal meeting to discuss the matter with them. In December 2012, Kubiak wrote a memo about the incident in order to initiate an Internal Affairs Division complaint, the lawsuit says.
In February 2013, Kubiak said, she was notified by Internal Affairs that her complaint had been sustained. Days later, she was reassigned.
Kubiak went on leave shortly after she lost her News Affairs post, her attorney M. Megan O'Malley said. Once her leave ends,
Kubiak is planning to retire because she feels the incident has damaged her career, O'Malley said.
"She's not just a police officer, she's a resident of the city," O'Malley said. "As a private citizen she is concerned about this pattern of retaliation. Being a police officer doesn't give someone a free pass to violate the law. It's unfortunate that the city chose to protect the officer that assaulted her and punish the victim."
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