Aldermen Set to Pay $2.2M to Settle 3 Police Misconduct Cases

(WTTW News)(WTTW News)

Alderpeople are poised to pay $2.2 million on Wednesday to settle three lawsuits claiming Chicago police officers used excessive force in 2014, before officers were required to wear cameras and record their interactions with Chicagoans.

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Two of the cases involved foot chases. In 2017, a probe by the Department of Justice found the fact that the Chicago Police Department had no policy governing foot chases endangered both officers and Chicagoans. 

It was not until after a Chicago Police officer shot and killed 13-year-old Adam Toledo in March after a foot chase that police officials crafted and implemented a policy limiting when officers can pursue suspects.

The Chicago City Council’s Finance Committee voted 22-9 to pay $1.2 million to resolve the lawsuit filed by the family of Pedro Rios, Jr., a 14-year-old who died after being shot by an officer chasing him through a Portage Park alley on July 4, 2014.

A final vote by the full City Council is set for Wednesday.

Rios was shot after he pointed his gun at the officer, Officer Nicholas Redelsperger told investigators. The teen did not fire his weapon, Chief Assistant Corporation Counsel Jeff Levine told alderpeople.

The Civilian Office of Police Accountability determined that the shooting was justified, but found that Redelsperger kicked Rios as he lay dying, and that constituted excessive force, Levine said.

Ald. George Cardenas (12th Ward) suggested that instead of settling the lawsuit brought by Rios’ father, the city should sue the teens’ parents for failing to keep him from committing crimes.

However, Levine warned alderpeople that “suing the parents of a dead 14-year-old would be a fairly risky thing to do if it backfired in terms of public sentiment.”

Committee members also endorsed a recommendation from the city’s Law Department to pay $625,000 to Lawrence Scott, who was 23 in 2014 when he was struck in the head by an officer with  his gun.

Scott ran from officers and tossed away a bag of marijuana before an officer apprehended him and a struggle ensued, Levine said. 

While the officer said he punched Scott in the head to subdue him, Scott’s injuries, confirmed by medical records, included a traumatic brain injury, a concussion and nine staples, were consistent with being struck in the head with a gun, Levine said.

Five alderpeople voted against settling that lawsuit.

In a separate action, the committee endorsed a proposal to pay $330,000 to Frederick Bell, who was 55 in 2014 when he was stopped by police for committing a traffic violation in Chatham.

Bell accused the officers who stopped him of attacking him without provocation and was hospitalized after the altercation and suffered multiple strokes, Levine said.

One of the officers who stopped Bell said his knee struck Bell’s head while he attempted to place Bell into custody, Levine said.

In all, the City Council is set to approve payments of $5.1 million to resolve four lawsuits, including $2.9 million to resolve the lawsuit filed by Anjanette Young, who was left naked and pleading for help during a botched raid in February 2019

Contact Heather Cherone: @HeatherCherone | (773) 569-1863 | [email protected]

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