CHICAGO (CBS) — A Chicago woman woke up and found two dents in her car. She knows who caused the damage. The price to fix it is $1,500. CBS 2 Investigator Dorothy Tucker reports on why they didn’t have to pay her a dime.
“Knowing that I didn’t do it, I’m very upset about it, to have to come and drive my car to work and see damage every time I come out to the car. Why should I have to pay to get something fixed that I didn’t do?” Marlo Brown said.
A man who asked to remain anonymous recorded surveillance video of Chicago police officers responding to a domestic call, and arresting a man who appeared to be drunk.
“The guy’s pushing the cops. The cops are pushing the guy,” he said.
There’s a skip in the video, due to a technical glitch, but the man said he saw what happened in that 45 seconds.
“They pushed him towards the vehicle. Boom. He hits the hood,” he said.
The next morning, Brown found two dents and a crack on the hood of her 2017 Chevrolet Trax.
“It wasn’t on there when I went to sleep that night,” she said.
Brown took photos of the damage, and filed a complaint with the city, seeking reimbursement for the damage.
“I know they have to do their job, but they could have thrown him on top of his car. His car was right in front of mine,” she said. “They could have kept him on the ground when they had him on the ground. They didn’t have to pick him up and slam him on my car.”
Brown received a $1,500 estimate for the repairs to her car, but a letter from the city’s Law Department stated the city “must decline any claim resulting from this incident.”
“They make mistakes, too, and this is a mistake that they’ve made, and now they’re refusing to pay for it,” Brown said.
Why won’t the city pay? Legally, they don’t have to. The law states, unless a public employee is committing a crime, he “is not liable for his act or omission in the execution of enforcement.”
Officials said each complaint is handled on a case-by-case basis, and because CBS 2 stepped in, the city’s Law Department is reviewing Brown’s claim.
“It’s clear that the vehicle’s owner was placed in an unfortunate circumstance,” a Law Department spokesperson said.
Meantime, Brown said police told her to file a claim with her insurance company.
“Why should I have to pay $500 deductible up out of my pocket to get a car fixed that I didn’t damage, because of something the police did?” she asked.
City officials said it’s rare they will pay a claim when a police officer causes damage.
The man arrested that night has been charged with aggravated battery on a police officer.