Chicago aldermen advance settlements in police misconduct lawsuits

Chicago aldermen advance settlements in police misconduct lawsuits

Chicago aldermen on Monday advanced two settlements in lawsuits alleging police misconduct in a wrongful raid and in the fatal police shooting of a man with mental health issues, but not before several questioned whether the city should agree to the payments.

a close up of a glass building: Flags fly at Chicago City Hall on Nov. 23, 2020.

© Jose M. Osorio / Chicago Tribune/Chicago Tribune/TNS
Flags fly at Chicago City Hall on Nov. 23, 2020.

In one case, the Finance Committee approved a $175,000 payment to a family of four after police officers serving a search warrant on the West Side in 2017 wrongfully broke their door down while searching for a man who lived in another apartment in their building.

The case has parallels to the Anjanette Young wrongful police raid case that became a major embarrassment for Mayor Lori Lightfoot and prompted her to make changes in the rules governing how people who file complaints against Chicago police can get copies of video and other materials in the case.

But while Ald. Chris Taliaferro said the officers who barged into the Franklin family’s apartment made “an indefensible mistake,” he said it wasn’t “an egregious error” as in the Young case where officers forced the victim to stand naked for nearly an hour while they searched her apartment.

“This is not comparable to what Ms. Young suffered,” Taliaferro, 29th, said. “There are no further allegations in this particular case to which any of us can probably conclude were egregious in context. So I think we’re setting the bar way too high for a wrongful entry, wrong address.”

The settlement nonetheless cleared the committee on a 21-7 vote and will head to the full City Council Wednesday.

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In the other case, the committee agreed by a 14-13 vote to award $400,000 to the mother of a man fatally shot by a police officer who she called to her house in 2015.

After four officers responded to a radio call of a mentally ill man threatening his mother with a knife, the woman told officers her son had a history of mental issues and usually carried a knife, according to city attorney Renai Rodney.

The man came out of his bedroom carrying two box cutters, and an officer shot him after a Taser did not slow the man.

An investigation by the Civilian Office of Police Accountability ruled the shooting was reasonable, Rodney said. Though the Law Department feels the city has a strong case, Rodney said the plaintiff’s attorneys could argue the officers didn’t follow proper procedures before the shooting, and a jury could award a larger sum to the mother, she said.

Also Monday, the committee approved a deal for Chicago to provide water to the city of Joliet for up to 100 years, despite concerns from some aldermen who said they want evidence that Chicago residents who have seen their water rates rise quickly in recent years will get better rates than those enjoyed by Joliet under the contract.

And Finance Committee Chairman Ald. Scott Waguespack held an ordinance to name financial institutions where the city and Chicago Public Schools would be allowed to deposit funds for this year, after some aldermen said they want more evidence that some of the institutions have good records for mortgage lending on the South and West sides.

Twitter @_johnbyrne

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Published at Mon, 22 Feb 2021 14:38:22 +0000

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