CBS 2 Chicago wbbm7801059 670 The Score

Local

City Council To Weigh $22.5M Settlement In Bipolar Woman’s Lawsuit

View Comments
Lastest News Headlines:

Get Breaking News First

Receive News, Politics, and Entertainment Headlines Each Morning.
Sign Up

CHICAGO (CBS) – The city’s Law Department is proposing a $22.5 million settlement in a federal lawsuit filed by the family of a bipolar woman who was raped and nearly killed in 2006, after she was released from police custody in one of the city’s most dangerous neighborhoods in 2006.

Christina Eilman, 21 at the time, was arrested on May 7, 2006, after allegedly causing a disturbance at Midway International Airport, according to court records. She suffered from bipolar disorder and, according to experts, was in an acute manic phase at the time.

She was taken to a South Side police station and held overnight. Despite calls from her parents telling police she suffered from bipolar disorder, police released her near the Robert Taylor Homes public housing project, without any assistance, and dressed in a cutoff top, short shorts, and boots.

Court records indicate, although the city first argued Eilman seemed coherent while in custody, several police officers testified in depositions that they noticed bizarre behavior.

A short time later, she was lured to the last remaining building of the Robert Taylor Homes, and was raped at knifepoint, before she fell from a 7th floor window, causing a severe brain injury, and several broken bones. She now requires constant care, and is living with her parents in California.

Her parents have sued the city for damages, alleging police ignored warning signs that Eilman was suffering from a bipolar breakdown, and then released her in a dangerous neighborhood on her own.

Court records indicate, although the city first argued Eilman seemed coherent while in custody, several police officers testified in depositions that they noticed bizarre behavior.

The city attempted to have the lawsuit dismissed, but last April the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected that request, and said police should have done more to protect Eilman when releasing her from custody.

“They did not warn Eilman about the neighborhood’s dangers. They did not walk her to the nearest CTA station … from which she could have reached a safer neighborhood in minutes. They did not drive her back to the airport, where she could have used her ticket to return to California. They did not put Eilman in contact with her mother, who had called the stationhouse repeatedly,” the appeals court wrote. “They did not even return Eilman’s cell phone, which she could have used to summon aid. They might as well have released her into the lions’ den at the Brookfield Zoo.”

The Finance Committee would have to sign off on the proposed $22.5 million settlement at Tuesday’s hearing, and then send the proposal to the full City Council for approval.

Also on the agenda for Tuesday’s committee meeting is a proposed $10.25 million settlement of a federal lawsuit involving torture claims against former Chicago police commander Jon Burge.

Alton Logan, who spent 26 years for a murder he did not commit, did not claim he was tortured into confessing, but alleged detectives covered up evidence that could have cleared him of killing a security guard at a McDonald’s restaurant in Chicago in 1982.

Logan was released from prison in 2008 after new evidence revealed he wasn’t the killer.

The trial in Logan’s lawsuit was delayed last month just before jury selection. Burge was to be called as a witness to testify by videoconference from prison, where he is serving 4 ½ years for lying about torture by the detectives under his command. He likely would have asserted his Fifth Amendment right against incriminating himself.

View Comments