Weather Updates

Suit alleges beating by Midlo PD official

Updated: January 7, 2014 6:31AM

An Oak Forest man alleges in a lawsuit that he was severely beaten in an unprovoked attack by Midlothian’s former deputy police chief, who has been indicted in connection with that incident.

The man, James Snyder, was charged with aggravated assault and resisting arrest after the alleged beating early on Thanksgiving Day 2011. The charges were dismissed a few months later.

Federal prosecutors on Wednesday announced an indictment against Lt. Steven Zamiar, accusing him of violating the civil rights of two people during arrests in 2010 and 2011. The indictment doesn’t provide details, but the latter incident involved Snyder, his attorney, Anthony Peraica, said Thursday.

Zamiar was a detective sergeant when he beat and injured the first victim during a Sept. 6, 2010, arrest, according to the indictment. It says he was the department’s second-in-command on Nov. 24, 2011, when he allegedly used excessive force on a second person. Zamiar was placed on paid leave in September.

Snyder’s lawsuit was filed Nov. 20 in Cook County Circuit Court. Records show that Zamiar, a 13-year police veteran, has been sued four times in federal court by persons who were arrested and claimed excessive force. Some of the suits were dropped, but Midlothian settled one in 2008.

Snyder, his girlfriend and another woman had left a bar near 147th Street and Cicero Avenue when Zamiar came running toward them, waving a police baton, Peraica said. He said Zamiar did not identify himself as a police officer and was not in uniform.

The lawyer said three other men were with Zamiar at the time, but he doesn’t know whether they were police. Peraica said there had been a disturbance at the bar, but his client was not involved.

The two women got into the car, but Zamiar “started beating (Snyder) severely,” Peraica said. “This guy (Zamiar) was out of control.”

In his report, Zamiar said he was investigating a scuffle at the bar and saw Snyder try to punch a person in the parking lot. Zamiar “announced my presence” and Snyder began to flee but “turned toward me in an aggressive manner,” prompting Zamiar to use his metal baton. Snyder refused medical treatment, according to the report.

Peraica said Snyder went to Palos Community Hospital after getting “bruises and welts” on his head, neck and back and later saw a doctor in Orland Park.

© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit To order a reprint of this article, click here.