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Off-duty cop who called in fake bar fight gets 2 years probation

Published: Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013 8:40 a.m. CDT

CHICAGO (MCT) - An off-duty Chicago police officer who called 911 and reported a fake bar brawl so he could drive himself home after Niles police pulled him over for a suspected DUI was sentenced Friday to two years of probation.

Sean Dailey, 35, faced up to 3 years in prison after Judge William Lacy found the officer guilty in August of felony disorderly conduct. Lacy ordered him to perform 50 hours of community service, refrain from drinking alcohol and submit to random alcohol and drug screening.

Dailey was speeding in a black Chevy Tahoe at 66 miles an hour in a 35 mile-per-hour zone when he ran a red light on North Milwaukee Avenue on Nov. 5, 2010, according to a summary of evidence that Lacy gave in August.

"We're on the same team," Dailey was alleged to have told Niles Police Officer Brian Zagorski after he was pulled over. Zagorski smelled alcohol on Dailey's breath but agreed to let him go without a ticket after learning he was a Chicago cop.

The Niles officer, however, wouldn't allow Dailey to drive himself home, telling him he could call a friend or a cab or that Zagorski himself would drive him home. Dailey responded by saying that Zagorski was treating him like "a racial slur for African-Americans," Lacy noted.

Dailey said he'd call a cab, but as Zagorski waited to make sure off-duty officer didn't drive away, Dailey instead called 911 at 2:28 a.m. on his cell phone, telling a dispatcher that 50 underage kids who were drinking and "doing coke" had gotten into a brawl at a Niles bar.

Zagorski, knowing there were only a handful of units on duty, responded to the call but learned over the radio on the way that the report was false. When he returned, Dailey and his vehicle were gone.

The 911 dispatcher called Dailey back, but Dailey continued to insist he had been at the bar and had seen the brawl, according to recordings summarized by Lacy.

"It's clear to me that the Niles police officers were giving the defendant a tremendous break," a transcript quoted Lacy as saying in August. "The defendant not only refused that break, he then selfishly places his fellow officer in potential danger by...reporting a fictitious bar fight."

Dailey is the son of deceased former Chicago police Lt. Maurice "Mo" Dailey, who one retired police leader described in a letter to Lacy as a "legend."

Six current or former police officers wrote letters supporting Dailey, including retired deputy chief Michael Patton as well as Fraternal Order of Police president Michael Shields, who wrote that Dailey has "a good heart" and is "a loyal and good person."

"I have known Sean for 17 years and he comes from a very good family," Shields wrote before the sentencing.

Dailey resigned from the police department effective Nov. 1, according to spokesman Adam Collins.

(c)2013 the Chicago Tribune Distributed by MCT Information Services

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