PARK RIDGE, Ill. — The family of a Park Ridge teenager is suing the city and a Chicago police sergeant over an incident last summer.
A Cook County Circuit Court judge cleared Michael Vitellaro of all charges in relation to a 2022 incident where he pinned a teenager to the ground in front of a Starbucks in Park Ridge.
Vitellaro accused the boy of stealing his son’s bicycle.
Nicole and Angel Nieves on Facebook shared the video of Vitellaro kneeling on the back of her 14-year-old son, Josh, as the teen’s friends yelled at the officer to get off on June 1, 2022. Nieves, who believed the act by Vitellaro was racially motivated, said her son had his bike with him.
Now the Nieves family is filing a civil lawsuit.
“We firmly believe that the outcome of the criminal trial was wrong. Period. So we press on and we will fiercely fight for justice and accountability, which we have every right to do,” Angel Nieves said.
Attorney Antonio Romanucci said Vitellaro never identified himself as a police officer and put the teen in an arm lock, deploying “jungle, predatorial, ambush, Chicago police tactics.”
Vitellaro, a 22-year veteran of the Chicago Police Department, remains on a leave of absence from CPD amid a Civilian Office of Police Accountability investigation. He was an off-duty Chicago police officer at the time of the incident.