Ex-Wheeling police commander alleges brass forced retirement to retaliate over attempt to complete FOIA request

By Noddy A. Fernandez | Dec 12, 2018

CHICAGO – A former police commander in Wheeling alleges he was retaliated against for refusing to participate in a violation of the Illinois Freedom of Information Act.

Richard Benbow filed a complaint on Dec. 4 in Cook County Circuit Court against the village of Wheeling citing the Illinois Whistleblower Act.

According to the complaint, the plaintiff was hired by the defendant in 1990 and was appointed as the police department's Freedom of Information Act officer in August 2017. The suit states in December 2017, the village's FOIA officer sent him a FOIA request regarding a detective's text messages.

He alleges he ran into difficulty gathering the text messages and was retaliated against for attempting to collect the messages. He alleges he was assigned more duties and was denied assistance, allegedly in an attempt to force him to resign. The suit states he submitted a notice of his intent to retire in August in May as a result of the retaliation.

The plaintiff alleges the illegal retaliation forced him to leave the department before his pension was fully vested, causing him to lose pension benefits and loss of employment. 

The plaintiff requests a trial by jury and seeks award for damages, plus interest, attorney fees and costs. He is represented by Matthew Topic and Joshua Burday of Loevy & Loevy in Chicago.

Cook County Circuit Court case number 18-L-013014

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Circuit Court of Cook County Village of Wheeling Village of Wheeling Police Department

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