Cook County Circuit Court
Judge Ronald F. Bartkowicz
Plaintiff, Michael Powe, was paralyzed after an altercation with the City of Harvey’s Detective Julio Esparza during an undercover police sting operation. Powe claimed he was holding his cell phone when he approached Detective Esparza who was undercover at the time. The police officer fired a .45 caliber hollow point bullet into Powe’s left wrist. The force of the first gunshot caused Powe to spin around 180 degrees, and that a second gunshot was fired directly into his back. The gunshot to his back struck Powe’s spine, and he was paralyzed from the chest down.
Powe sued the City of Harvey and Detective Esparza in State Court alleging battery. Attorneys Mark Roth and Ken Hurst of Roth Fioretti LLC argued that Powe was holding a gun when he approached Detective Esparza, and did not follow the Detective’s demand to lower his weapon after the Detective identified himself as a police officer. The defense’s expert in police policies and procedures opined that the defendant did not use excessive force, and only used the force necessary to eliminate the immediate threat.
Powe sought recovery of $3.8 million, including $157,000 for past medical expenses, damages for his pain and suffering and damages for loss of a normal life. The defense denied Powe was entitled to any damages. The jury deliberated for less than an hour and rendered a defense verdict, finding that Powe was not entitled to any money.
Shown below are a happy Mark Roth and Ken Hurst, along with Roth Fioretti’s client Detective Esparza holding the signed jury verdict form.