Chicago Police Officer Punches Gaming Official

A Chicago police officer has lost her badge after a drunken altercation at Horseshoe Casino. Lori Ann Cooper has been charged with battery against a public official. Yes, gaming officials are public employees, just like police officers. She has been charged with one felony, battery on a public official, and three misdemeanors, resisting law enforcement, disorderly conduct, and public intoxication. The Chicago police announced that Cooper had been stripped of her badge pending the outcome of the investigation, but it does not look good. 

What Happened?

Off-duty police officer was working security at the casino. He responded to a call that a casino employee had been battered in one of the bathrooms by an intoxicated female casino-goer. When he arrived, the employee declined to press charges and did not appear injured. Nonetheless, Cooper and her friend were asked to leave the premises. According to security personnel, as Cooper and her friend attempted to exit the premises, they began fighting with each other. 

As Cooper and her friend were being escorted from the premises, Cooper “charged” at one individual who turned out to be an Indiana Gaming Commission agent. The gaming commission agent said he was struck in the chest by Cooper’s open hand. Surveillance appears to corroborate this claim. 

What Happens Next?

The testimony of the individuals inside the casino will likely account for the majority of evidence against Cooper. Further, her conduct was obviously unacceptable for a public servant. Worst of all, she struck another state employee which makes her crime a felony. While it is certainly possible that Cooper can say that she was having a really bad day, got loaded, and misjudged her limits, having this sort of crime on her record will seriously complicate her law enforcement career.

One possibility still available to her is to throw herself on the mercy of the court, enter herself into a drug and alcohol treatment program, and then hope that after meeting several treatment requirements, she is allowed to come back to work. But that is by no means a given. In fact, that outcome may turn out to be the heaviest penalty she pays.

According to Indiana and Illinois law, she did commit the crime of battery, so there is little wiggle room to plead out if the prosecutor is not willing to offer a deal. Furthermore, the person she committed battery against was a state employee. That may not have been apparent to her at the time of the altercation, and the individual probably was not wearing any distinguishing uniform, so there may be some opportunity to plead to simple battery. But in truth, she will be negotiating to go back to work. Otherwise, she may end up a security guard like the poor folks who had to deal with her that fateful night.

Talk to a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney Today

If you got wasted at the casino and punched an employee who later turned out to be a state official, you will need a skilled Chicago criminal defense attorney to minimize the damage to your future. Call David Freidberg today at (312) 560-7100 to learn more about how we can help. 

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