Five High-Profile Deadly Police Force Settlements In Chicago

By Walker Post

CHICAGO (CBS) — Another lawsuit was filed against the Chicago Police Department last week in response to an officer killing a 36-year-old man.

The officer shot Quintec Locke on July 1, after police responded to a call of weapons fired in the Lawndale neighborhood. The lawsuit claims the unnamed officers did not follow standard procedure and used deadly force in an unprovoked and unwarranted attack against Locke. A handgun and AK-47 were found at the scene.

Locke’s sister is asking for $1 million in damages. The Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA) is reviewing the officer’s body cameras to determine if the use of force was justified.

Chicago has paid out an estimated $662 million to settle police misconduct allegations since 2004, according to a Crain’s report in 2016. These settlements are paid for with borrowed money that the city does not have and paid back by taxpayers over the next 30 years.

Here is a look at five of the most high-profile police settlements – dealing with excessive force and lofty sums of money – that took place since 2011:

1. Laquan McDonald

Laquan McDonald, 17, had allegedly been trying to break into cars in 2014 when police responded. Officers pursued him for about half a mile. Police dashcam footage shows McDonald walking away from police wielding a knife, when Officer Jason Van Dyke shot him 16 times shortly after exiting his police vehicle. Officers claimed that he had lunged at them with a knife, but those claims were contradicted by the dashcam video that was released to the public in 2015.

McDonald’s death led to a $5 million settlement for his family, without the family having filed a lawsuit against the city. A federal civil rights investigation of the case, and Van Dyke has been charged with murder — the first Chicago police officer charged with first degree murder since 1980, according to CNN. He faces 16 criminal charges of aggravated battery and six counts of first-degree murder. The three others officers at the scene were also indicted and are being charged with obstruction of justice for allegedly trying to cover up the circumstances of the shooting. Van Dyke could face life in prison if convicted.

2. Rekia Boyd

Rekia Boyd, 22, was killed by Dante Servin, an off-duty officer, in 2012, after an argument arose between her friend and Servin. Servin had complained about a loud party in the area before encountering Boyd and three others. Servin fired several shots from his car and over his shoulder into the group. He claims that he feared for his life after seeing one of Boyd’s friends reach for their waistband. Her friend was reaching for a cell phone. No weapons were recovered at the scene.

Boyd’s family received a $4.5 million settlement after a wrongful death lawsuit against the city. Servin was found not guilty on involuntary manslaughter. He resigned from the police force before his Chicago Police Board disciplinary hearing, allowing him to receive pension for four years.

3. Flint Farmer

Flint Farmer, 29, was shot to death by Officer Gildardo Sierra in 2011. Police were responding to a call that Farmer had been involved in domestic violence against his girlfriend and daughter. Sierra, who admits to drinking several beers the night of the shift, confronted him at the scene. Sierra shot Farmer seven times and claims he had a firearm. Similarly to Rekia Boyd’s case, only a cellphone was found on the scene. However, dash cam footage of that night shows Sierra standing over Farmer’s body and firing three of the 16 total shots discharged into his back.

Farmer’s family received $4.1 million in their case against the city. Former Officer Sierra had three on-duty shootings, two of them fatal, within six months. The final incident was Farmer’s death. Sierra was not prosecuted or fired from the police force. He resigned from the department in 2015, ten months after IPRA deemed the shooting of Farmer unjustifiable.

4. Jose Lopez

Jose Lopez, 35, was said to be experiencing chest pains in 2011 when 911 was called to assist him. Lopez, who was allegedly on a drug known as PCP, refused medical treatment and swung at officers, after them and paramedics attempted to help. Officer Steven Vidljinovic tased Lopez, who hit his head on the pavement. Lopez is now paralyzed and can barely perform basic motor functions.

A $9.5 million settlement for Lopez was approved by the city of Chicago and is going to city council for final review. Vidljinvoic was not disciplined for his actions and is still on the police force.

5. Philip Coleman

Philip Coleman, 38, was arrested in 2011 after having a psychotic episode. Police responded to a call that Coleman, who was mentally ill, had hit his mother. He then allegedly spit at police before being arrested for aggravated battery.

Footage from a South Side jail reveals police trying to get Coleman out of his cell to take him to court. After Coleman refused to cooperate, officers tased him repeatedly and dragged him from his cell while he was unconscious and in handcuffs.

Coleman was then taken to a hospital to have his taser prongs removed. He resisted help and was hit with batons and tased again. Coleman was then injected with an antipsychotic drug, which lead to a rare reaction, elevating his temperature and leading to his death. His parents claim the beating was the actual cause of his Coleman’s death – not the drug.

Philip Coleman’s parents were awarded $4.9 million in a police settlement. IPRA recommended suspensions ranging from 28 to 120 days for six CPD employees.

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