Chicago to Pay $57.2M to Settle 3 Police Misconduct Cases, Including Pursuit That Left Teen Unable to Walk or Speak

(WTTW News)(WTTW News)

The Chicago City Council agreed Wednesday to pay $57.2 million to settle three lawsuits claiming Chicago police officers committed a wide range of misconduct, including launching an unauthorized pursuit that left a 15-year-old boy with a traumatic brain injury, unable to walk or talk.

Thanks to our sponsors:

View all sponsors

In April 2021, Nathen Jones was riding in a car that failed to stop at Wood and Huron streets in Ukrainian Village. Chicago Police Officer Jhonathan Perez, driving an unmarked police SUV, gave chase — even though Chicago Police Department policy prohibits officers from pursuing those who are only suspected of committing a traffic violation and Perez never notified dispatchers of the pursuit.

The pursuit ended at Damen and Grand avenues when the car that Jones was riding in collided with another car, leaving the teen severely and permanently injured.

Jones needs around-the-clock care and is unable to walk, speak or feed himself, according to the lawsuit filed on his behalf. Chicago taxpayers will pay $20 million and the city’s insurance company will pay $25 million in one of the largest settlements in city history.

The cost to taxpayers of the settlements approved without debate by the City Council on Wednesday is equivalent to more than a third of the city’s annual $82 million budget to cover the cost of police misconduct lawsuits.

The settlement represents the third time Chicago taxpayers will pony up to resolve a lawsuit alleging misconduct by Perez, according to reports published by the Chicago Law Department.

Mayor Brandon Johnson called the series of events that led to Jones’ injuries “a tragedy.”

Perez, who joined CPD in 2015, remains a Chicago Police officer, and there is no evidence he has been disciplined in connection with the 2021 crash. He earns $102,870 annually.

“I know what my standard for policing is,” Johnson said, adding that he would work to ensure all members of the Chicago Police Department believe in constitutional policing. “That act is not my standard.”

In a separate case, the City Council agreed to pay $5.5 million to a man who spent more than 22 years in prison after he was framed by a disgraced former Chicago police detective for a 1995 murder.

Ricardo Rodriguez was convicted after being investigated by Reynaldo Guevara, a former Chicago police detective accused of routinely framing suspects.

Rodriguez was exonerated in 2018 and released from prison in 2019. Rodriguez and 40 other Chicagoans who were convicted based on evidence gathered by Guevara have been exonerated by Illinois judges, according to the National Registry of Exonerations.

Chicago taxpayers have now paid $62.5 million to resolve lawsuits naming Guevara, records show. At least 11 other lawsuits naming Guevara are pending against the city, all from men who were convicted based on evidence gathered by Guevara and were later exonerated.

The City Council also agreed to pay $2.25 million to the family of Roshad McIntosh, who was shot and killed by a Chicago police officer after a foot chase in August 2014.

McIntosh, 19, was fatally shot by an officer on Aug. 24, 2014, in the 2800 block of West Polk Street. The Civilian Office of Police Accountability, the agency charged with investigating police misconduct known as COPA, found McIntosh pointed a handgun at an officer.

McIntosh was shot twice in the abdomen by Officer Robert Slechter, who earns $125,580 annually working as a detective. Two probes, one by COPA and one by the Independent Police Review Agency, cleared Slechter of wrongdoing.

However, COPA urged that that another officer at the scene be fired after his statement to police officials was contradicted by surveillance footage. That officer, Saharat Sampim, resigned before the Chicago Police Board could decide whether to fire him.

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

Thanks to our sponsors:

View all sponsors

Thanks to our sponsors:

View all sponsors