Woman who claims off-duty cop bit her files suit in state court following dismissal of federal complaint

By Annie Cosby | Apr 24, 2014

A Cook County woman last month filed a lawsuit claiming an off-duty police officer attacked and bit her.

Lisa Murata filed suit March 14 in the Cook County Circuit Court against Nicholas Pocius, Deborah Irvine, also known as Deborah Pocius, Joseph Siska and Nick Prazuch. It also names Nicte Leigh and Steve McMahon as respondents in discovery.

Murata in May 2013 filed a complaint in federal court against the City of Chicago, Pocius and several others over the same incident. Court records show a federal judge last month dismissed the matter without prejudice pursuant to a stipulation filed by the parties, noting that Murata could refile the claims in state court within one year.

In the suit she brought in Cook County Circuit Court, Murata claims she was walking on North Clark Street in Chicago on May 4, 2012, when she was knocked to the ground and bitten by Pocius, who she described as an intoxicated off-duty police officer,

After Murata called 911, she alleges that Siska and Prazuch unsuccessfully attempted to help Pocius escape the scene of the crime into a taxi. Her suit notes Irvine presented herself to investigating officers as Pocius's fiancee.

Murata asserts that while she was under the impression she was being summoned by police regarding the complaint she wanted to file, she was arrested and charged with battery.

According to records obtained by Murata's attorney, the suit states the original incident report described Pocius as "sober" despite the fact that he admitted at the scene to have been drinking all night, and did not mention interviews with Murata's friends who were witnesses to the incident.

On March 15, 2013, the complaint states the criminal charge against Murata was dismissed. Murata is bringing the suit because she claims her attorney has reason to believe Pocius was never administratively disciplined for the crime.

Murata accuses Pocius of assault and battery and Pocius, Irvine and Siska of false imprisonment and malicious criminal prosecution by wrongfully accusing her of battery.

The suit further alleges that Irvine, Siska, and Prazuch conspired to obstruct justice by aiding and abetting the wrongful arrest and prosecution of Murata.

She is seeking more than $50,000 in damages and is being represented in the case by attorney Timothy H. Okal of Spina, McGuire & Okal P.C.

Cook County court records show a case management call notice was mailed out last month and a hearing has been set for May 21 in the matter.

Cook County Circuit Court Case No. 2014L003066.

This is a report on a civil lawsuit filed in the Cook County Circuit Court. The details in this report come from an original complaint filed by a plaintiff. Please note, a complaint represents an accusation by a private individual, not the government. It is not an indication of guilt, and it only represents one side of the story.

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