Hooters Restaurants likes to promote their orange-hotpanted waitresses with the provocative tied-up teeshirts as, “delightfully tacky yet unrefined.” The slogan might be applied to its security guards too, if a fiesty grandma gets her way. After disputing an errant appetizer on her bill from a Chicagoland Hooter’s, 54-year-old Livier Torres was manhandled by off-duty Oak Lawn Police Officer Joseph Schmidt as she tried to pay. Part-enforcer, part-social engineer (Schmidt reportedly told Torres daughter, “All you people are the same” in an apparent reference to their Mexican heritage.), the fearless crime fighter called for back-up against the marauding grandma — when a headlock and pinning her to the ground wouldn’t suffice. Despite a paucity of video evidence, a Cook County judge sentenced Torres to 200 days in Cook County Jail’s maximum security unit for spitting on the officer. Not to be outdone, Torres (who happens to be a paralegal, too) triggered her own lawsuit from jail, suing the City of Oak Lawn, Hooters, and Joseph Schmidt for battery and false imprisonment. She’s asking for $280,000.00.
I think Livier might have a good case among jurors who can see. The surveillance video seems to support her contention that she never battered or spit on the off-duty officer as he claims, and the force used by the foodie foot solider looks out of proportion to these eyes.
Hooters, for their part, thinks the best tort defense is a good offense pointing out that, “ a full review of the security video and the testimony of several eye witnesses was enough to convict the plaintiff of crimes including assault and resisting arrest.” Officer Joseph Schmidt continues his duties on the Oak Lawn PD unfazed. Rumor has it he’s welcome to wings at Hooters anytime (just joking, of course, there officer!).
In a PR move that should be taught in marketing classes from coast to coast, Livier Torres was asked to sign the credit card receipt as she sat handcuffed in the squad car.
You can watch the beat down for yourself:
Source: CBS News
–Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger