‘Totally inaccurate’ police report says bar patron whipped alderman with a belt during billiards dispute

A Chicago police arrest report and criminal complaint that say a man whipped Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) with a belt during a dispute over a pool game in River North last weekend are “totally inaccurate,” the alderman says.

We first reported about the incident on October 8 after an internal Chicago Police Department notification surfaced saying “a city alderman was struck in the face” at Boss Bar, 420 North Clark, the night before.

Ulises Ortiz, 33, of Albany Park, was arrested at the scene and charged with misdemeanor battery, a police spokesperson said.

“A totally wasted guy took a swipe at me (and many others) and missed,” Reilly said at the time. “He battered an employee. I’m all good.”

But Ortiz’s arrest report and the criminal complaint filed with the Circuit Court of Cook County on Friday both identify Reilly as the battery victim.

“Victim (Brendan Reilly) related to [the reporting officer] that both parties were playing a game of billiards at location, when victim and offender got into a verbal altercation. Offender then took off his belt and hit victim about the body causing bodily harm.”

“Security from establishment then escorted offender out from the premises and detained offender until Officers arrived,” the arrest report continued. It states Ortiz was “arrested on signed complaints.”

When told about the report on Friday, Reilly said, “Then that report is totally inaccurate. A manager was hit with a belt. I was not hit. And I don’t play pool.”

Ulises Ortiz (left) and Ald. Brendan Reilly | Chicago Police Department; Google

The misdemeanor complaint alleges Ortiz “struck Brendan Reilly about the body with a belt [in] a dispute over a game [of] billiards.”

It lists the victim’s address as 121 North LaSalle, which is City Hall, and purports to be signed by Reilly in two places. The victim’s phone number on the complaint is listed as Reilly’s contact number with the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners.

The police report also indicates that Near North (18th) District Commander Michael Barz, his second-in-command, Capt. David Koenig, an Area Three detective, the department’s Crime Prevention & Information Center (CPIC), and CPD’s Office of News Affairs were notified about the incident. It does not list any witnesses.

When contacted for comment about Reilly’s contention that the police report is incorrect, a CPD spokesperson said, “In order for [Ortiz] to be arrested, a victim had to sign complaints.”

The department declined to say if it had modified the report to reflect a different victim or if it stood by the accuracy of the initial police report.

Ortiz was kept in police custody for more than 20 hours, according to the CPD records, unusually long for a misdemeanor battery case.

About an hour before police released Ortiz, an officer noted that CPD had been “unable to contact victim therefore unable to seek felony upgrades.” However, a felony charge of aggravated battery in a public place was added to Ortiz’s case when it appeared in the Clerk of Court records system on Friday.

Reilly, 51, was battered by a man outside Boss Bar in February 2021. He did not immediately file a police report, but Mayor Lori Lightfoot “instructed police to investigate” after the press picked up the story, Block Club Chicago reported.

“These guys came out of the middle of the street, out of Hubbard Street and were yelling unintelligibly,” Reilly said at the time, according to the Block Club report. “I had no idea what they were trying to say, I was trying to hear what they were saying. I said ‘What are you saying’ and kind of walked away because it looked like they were getting aggressive.”

Police later determined that only one person was involved in the 2021 attack, a CPD spokesperson said at the time.

Antonio Palazzi, 35, turned himself in to police more than a month later to face a misdemeanor battery charge. He pleaded guilty in December 2021 and received a sentence of six months of court supervision, according to court records.

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About Tim Hecke 330 Articles
Tim Hecke is CWBChicago's managing partner. He started his career at KMOX, the legendary news radio station in St. Louis. From there, he moved on to work at stations in Minneapolis, Chicago, and New York City. Tim went on to build syndicated radio news and content services that served every one of America's 100 largest radio markets. He became CWBChicago's managing partner in 2019. His email address is tim@cwbchicago.com