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Local

Breaking: Crest Hill cop resigns during internal investigation

Flores was cleared in girlfriend's death, facing lawsuit from family

A Crest Hill police officer who was cleared of wrongdoing in the death investigation of then-girlfriend Samantha Harer has resigned, according to a news release.

Officer Felipe “Phil” Flores tendered his resignation at 2:30 p.m. Friday, Crest Hill Police Chief Ed Clark said in a news release Monday morning.

“We accept his resignation, which is effective immediately,” Clark said.

Flores resigned in the middle of an internal investigation of his conduct after the death investigation of Harer, 23, who died Feb. 13, 2018, of a gunshot to the head. The two were dating at the time of Harer's death.

Flores was the only other person in the apartment with her that day. The Crest Hill officer was put on paid administrative leave throughout the 10-month investigation, during which he made more than $70,000.

In December, the Will County Coroner's Office ruled Harer's death a suicide.

Clark said the internal investigation was in its "final stages" when he resigned. He said he couldn't comment on why Flores resigned because of pending litigation from Harer's family.

Clark also declined to comment when asked if the internal investigation will end because of Flores' resignation and would not comment on the findings of the investigation thus far.

Harer's parents, Kevin and Heather Harer, filed a lawsuit in October against Flores for causing her death. A judge dismissed the case after a mishap with the family's first lawyer, but they were successful in reviving it and maintain Flores was responsible for Harer's death.

Paul Ciolino, a spokesman for the Harer family, said he was glad Flores resigned from the department. Ciolino said Monday the family was still moving forward with the lawsuit. The family's lawyer, Jennifer Bonjean, said she would be making amendments to the original complaint before officially refiling it. She had 60 days to do so after the judge's decision to revive the lawsuit earlier this month.

Bonjean previously said there was physical evidence at the scene of Harer's death which indicate she did not kill herself. Ciolino said they would hire their own experts to examine evidence of gunshot residue and blood spatter. Bonjean did not respond to a request for comment on Monday.

"I think the people of Will County are safer without him on the street," Ciolino said. "The lawsuit is about justice and getting justice for Samantha Harer. The fact remains she was murdered. She did not commit suicide."

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