Chicago to pay $44.7M in police-abuse suit, jurors say

CHICAGO — Jurors in a lawsuit against the city of Chicago have concluded that a police officer shot his friend in the head after a night of heavy drinking in 2010 and awarded the victim $44.7 million.

That’s the largest award ever given in a misconduct lawsuit.

The decision Thursday followed a federal civil trial during which lawyers for 37-year-old Michael LaPorta sought to show the department enabled Officer Patrick Kelly to keep his job despite previous allegations.

A jury said Kelly shot LaPorta after a night of heavy drinking between the two friends in 2010.

Jurors rejected Kelly’s claim that LaPorta grabbed Kelly’s service weapon and shot himself in a suicide attempt.

LaPorta can no longer read or walk.

The 36-year-old Kelly remained on the force but was assigned to administrative duties after the Chicago Tribune reported that he faced at least 27 investigations into his conduct. He’d been disciplined once.

LaPorta’s family requested a $90 million award, including by citing a lifetime of medical costs.