The Chicago Tribune reports that the Chicago City Council voted last seek to pay over $5.4 million as a settlement of three lawsuits, two of which involved alleged Chicago Police misconduct. The largest settlement, of $4.1 million, involved the family of a Flint, Illinois farmer who was shot three times on the back by a Chicago Police Officer while he was unarmed and already wounded. Another settled case involved a young 13-year-old who was handcuffed and detained against his will by Chicago Police officers who demanded information about the young boy’s neighbors. He was awarded $145,000 by the City Council. The officers involved in the case were members of the now disbanded Special Operations Section of the CPD, or SOS. According to the article, many SOS officers were convicted of terrorizing numerous Chicago residents by invading their homes, performing illegal searches, and other illegal police tactics that they used to pocket thousands of dollars in cash for their own benefit.
Finally, the last was a $1.2 million Chicago accident lawsuit for a beer truck driver who was injured when his vehicle was rear-ended by a Chicago Fire Department truck in 2003 at Lincoln and California in Chicago. The driver underwent two back surgeries and continues to suffer from back pain. Through last November the city had paid out nearly $40 million in settlement of police abuse cases. In this year alone, the city has already spent over $38 million to settle such cases.
The City of Chicago employees have a duty to act properly under their scope of duty. Cases of police brutality and misconduct in Chicago should never be tolerated and when victims take action it sends a message to all City employees to refrain from these types of actions. While it can be intimidating to stand up against the city of Chicago, it is your right as a citizen to speak out when you have been injured by one of its employees. It is helpful to think of the City like any other large corporation that has many employees. When the employees of a large corporation act negligently, the corporation can be held accountable for their actions. It is the same for the city of Chicago. Settlements like these are important because they prove that the citizens of Chicago have a right to be heard and their legal rights always hold up in a court of law.
While our Chicago Police Officers are employed to protect us and hold a great deal of power in doing so, they are also accountable for their negligent acts, just like any other citizen of our city. Our city council provides a great service the people of our city by holding all wrongdoers accountable, no matter their employer.