CHICAGO (CBS) — Aldermen are deciding whether the city will pay out $4.5 million to settle lawsuits tied to allegations of police wrongdoing, and another $4 million for an unfilled pothole that proved to be fatal.
The settlements are just the latest in a long string of payouts the city has made in recent years.
The cases include a $3 million settlement stemming from a 2015 police chase that ended when a fleeing driver crashed into and killed 66-year-old Willie Owens and 88-year-old Margaret Silas.
Paul Forbes, 26, was fleeing officers when he ran a red light, and hit Silas and Owens. Their families sued the city, arguing police should have halted the pursuit when it reached a crowded neighborhood.
Other cases under consideration include a $4 million settlement for a biker who died after hitting a pothole at 26th and Damen; a $950,000 settlement for the family of an unarmed burglary suspect killed by an off-duty police officer in 2013; and a $500,000 settlement for the family of a man who died in a police lockup shortly after his arrest in 2015, after police allegedly ignored another arrestee’s calls for help when the man collapsed.
Also on the City Council agenda on Wednesday is a proposal to rename a stretch of Congress Parkway after civil rights activist and journalist Ida B. Wells. It would be the first permanent street name change in Chicago in 50 years, and would rename Congress after Ida B. Wells from Buckingham Fountain to the Eisenhower Expressway.
The civil rights leader and women’s suffragist called Chicago home for more than 35 years. Her great granddaughter said she’s overjoyed that Chicago will now have its first street named after a black woman.
“I’ve always felt that my great-grandmother needed to be honored in a way that was fitting to who she was, and what she did; but I never ever really imagined a major street in Chicago being named after her,” Michelle Duster said.
Wells’ supporters aren’t done yet. They’re raising money for a statue of her, and plan to install an Honorary Ida B. Wells sign on 37th Street near the former public housing complex that also bore her name.