Chicago settles lawsuit involving police code of silence

Joseph Frugoli

CHICAGO — The city of Chicago has settled a lawsuit involving whether a police code of silence protected a detective before he drove drunk and killed two men in a 2009 crash.

U.S. District Judge Virginia Kendall announced the settlement during a break in closing arguments Friday. The trial stemmed from a wrongful-death lawsuit by the victims' families against Joseph Frugoli and the city. They argued that even though Frugoli had been off duty, the code of silence helped conceal years of bad behavior and led him to believe he could drive drunk "with impunity."

Terms of the settlement weren't immediately released.

“It’s called the code of silence. It’s supposed to be secret. You need to document to prove it," said Tim Cavanagh, an attorney for one of the victim's families.

City Law Department spokesman Bill McCaffrey released the following statement:

"In all cases, we consider many factors, including the likelihood of an adverse judgment, when choosing to recommend a settlement to the City Council. This lawsuit is no different, and we will recommend that it is in the best interests of the taxpayers that the case be settled."

Frugoli was convicted of aggravated driving under the influence and fleeing the scene of an accident. A judge in 2012 sentenced him to eight years in prison.