Ex-cop who held down theft suspect in viral video slaps Kim Foxx with wrongful prosecution suit

Former Chicago Police Sergeant Michael Vitellaro is turning the tables on those who tried to prosecute him without probable cause.

(Video Credit: ABC 7 Chicago)

Vitallaro’s son had his bike stolen from outside a library in the summer of 2022, and the former sergeant was helping him look for it while off-duty on July 1. He drove to Park Ridge and together, the father-son duo reported the theft to the local authorities, then proceeded to cruise through the city to see if they could find it.

At some point, Vitallaro saw a 14-year-old boy “take possession and control” of a bike he believed belonged to his son. This prompted him to confront the boy and detain him after announcing that he was an officer before calling the local PD. Local cops show up and take a report, but don’t make any arrests. However, footage showing Vitallaro pinning the 14-year-old to the ground quickly went viral and sparked massive backlash within the community.

A “Paint the Town Orange” campaign was established, according to the lawsuit. “Many hundreds of symbolic orange-colored ribbons were placed on village trees and other locations throughout the Village of Park Ridge,” all in an effort to demand the arrest and prosecution of Vitallaro.

It didn’t take long for the Cook County State Attorney’s office, where Kim Foxx works, and other officials to cave to the overwhelming pressure, despite Vitallaro having the authority to detain a suspect due to his position in law enforcement. This is when Vitallaro says then-Park Ridge Police Chief Frank Kaminski began legal proceedings against him.

The lawsuit goes on to accuse Assistant State’s Attorney Lynn McCarthy of being “deliberately indifferent” to the fact that the former sergeant was well within his rights to perform the detainment, opting to proceed with the case in the face of public pressure. McCarthy, Kaminski, and the City of Park Ridge allegedly chose to prosecute Vitallaro, not because he had actually broken the law or done anything wrong, but “for the improper purpose of satisfying the desires of the community.”

The proof of these claims bore out in court when Vitallaro was declared not guilty in 2023, though he had already retired from his law enforcement position a month prior to the bench trial.

He is seeking damages in excess of $75,000, claiming that he was subject to malicious prosecution, deprivation of liberty without probable cause, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Sierra Marlee

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