CHICAGO (CBS) — A Chicago City Council committee Wednesday agreed to pay a total of $20 million to families of two men who were killed when a drunken off-duty police detective slammed into their car in 2009.
The committee backed the settlement after hearing that jurors would likely order the city to pay far more if they ever were presented evidence that the department’s alleged code of silence “emboldened” Joseph Frugoli to climb behind the wheel of his SUV.
The crash killed Fausto Manzera, 21, and Andrew Cazares, 23. Each family will receive $10 million.
Frugoli’s blood alcohol content was more than three times the legal limit, and his disciplinary record shows it wasn’t the first time he got behind the wheel after drinking.
“That’s what led him to know that he could drive drunk in the city of Chicago — because he had a badge,” said Cazares’s attorney, Tim Cavanagh.
Not all aldermen think it’s fair that taxpayers are on the hook. Ald. Raymond Lopez said, “I cannot continue to keep spending money for what happens on people’s off-time.”
City council’s already doled out more than $700 million in police misconduct settlements.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel said this settlement upsets him because he feels taxpayer money could be better spent. He further said paying this $20 million is a “responsibility.”