CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago taxpayers could soon be shelling out more than $6 million in settlements of four lawsuits against Chicago Police, including two fatal police shootings, and an incident in which officers raided the wrong home during a 4-year-old boy’s birthday party.
The City Council Finance Committee on Thursday will vote on the proposed payouts, the latest what seems to have become a monthly ritual of settling claims of police misconduct.READ MORE: Protesters Hold 'Healing Circle' At Site Where Adam Toledo Was Shot And Killed By Police; 'Our Presence Is A Form Of Resistance'
The largest proposed settlement, $3.8 million, would go to former Officer Laura Kubiak, who accused another officer of assaulting her in the workplace, and claims superior officers retaliated against her when she reported the attack.
Kubiak, who at the time was a spokeswoman for CPD News Affairs, accused a fellow officer of swinging his hand back “as if to strike” her in 2012, and yelling, “You are nothing, you are a stupid ____, you don’t know how to be the police, I am the police, I am the real police.”
Her lawsuit claims one person who saw the incident was afraid the male officer “was going to pull out his gun and shoot” Kubiak.
Kubiak said, after she reported the incident to her superiors, she was removed from her position at News Affairs, and reassigned to a dangerous neighborhood on the midnight shift.
The lawsuit claims the officer who attacked her had previously been found guilty of battery.
Meantime, city attorneys also are recommending a $350,000 settlement for a South Side family who are among the dozens of victims of Chicago police officers raiding the wrong homes.
Stephanie Bures, her two children, and three other family members sued the city last year, accusing police of terrorizing them at gunpoint when officers raided their apartment during her 4-year-old son’s birthday party.
Last March, 7-year-old Samari Boswell said she was terrified the night of her brother TJ Boswell’s birthday party on Feb. 10, 2019, when police officers burst into their home with guns drawn.
The family said police smashed TJ’s birthday cake, shouted profanities and insults, and pointed guns at innocent people, including children.
“They were saying F words and stuff,” Samari said. “It was horrible.”
Samari and TJ’s mother, Stephanie Bures, called what happened “horrible” and “unnecessary,” because the suspect who police officers were looking for hadn’t lived in the building for five years.
The children’s aunt, Kiqiana Jackson, said she repeatedly asked officers to see the search warrant, but she was denied, even though Chicago Police’s own search warrant policy says warrants need to be turned over “promptly.”
“I wanted to know why were they there. Who are you? Show us a search warrant,” Jackson said. “I guess I asked for a search warrant one too many times, and [an officer] was like, ‘Arrest her.’”
The family said the warrant wasn’t turned over until after police searched the home, broke a big-screen TV, and made a mess of their entire apartment.
The family also accuses officers of covering up their badges with sweatshirts or other clothing, and refusing to give the family their names or badge numbers.
Jackson and Samari’s family said they are not sure if officers were even wearing body cameras, but they hope so. They want to know how TJ’s birthday cake ended up outside its box and on the basement floor.
“There it was in the corner, on the floor, with the number 4 stuck in it,” Jackson said. “I really think the judges have to be more careful and make sure that their officers – the people who are here to protect and serve us – have done their homework.”READ MORE: Stimulus Check Latest: Is A Fourth Relief Payment Coming?
Jackson, Bures, and Bures’ two children are among six plaintiffs in the lawsuit against the city. It was not immediately clear if the $350,000 settlement includes attorneys’ fees.
Finally, aldermen on Thursday will be asked to approve settlements in two fatal police shootings.
City attorneys are recommending a $2.25 million settlement for the family of 18-year-old Paul O’Neal, an unarmed Black man who was shot in the back while running away from police in 2016. Officers Michael Coughlin and Jose Torres were fired by the Chicago Police Board in March.
On July 28, 2016, while on duty in a marked squad car, Coughlin and Torres received a radio report that other officers were chasing a stolen Jaguar. It turned out that the Jaguar was being driven by O’Neal and a passenger who was a minor, the Police Board said.
Torres was driving the squad car, while Coughlin unholstered his gun – a 9mm Glock 19, police said. Once they arrived in the area of 75th and Merrill, in an effort to keep the vehicle from escaping, Torres drove the wrong way down a one-way street and then stopped the squad car in the middle of the street to block access, the Police Board said.
Afterward, the Police Board said the following events happened in rapid succession. After blocking the street with the squad car, Torres got out and moved onto the grass near the sidewalk. Afterward, the Jaguar appeared – driving north on Merrill Avenue toward the squad car blocking the road with an unmarked police vehicle chasing behind it, the Police Board said.
Coughlin got out of the squad car with his gun raised and started shooting at the moving stolen car right away, the Police Board said. The stolen vehicle kept going north on Merrill Avenue and ended up passing the squad car, but did so by veering toward the area where Torres was standing on the grass, the board said.
Torres jumped out of the way, while Coughlin went on shooting at the car, the board said. Video showed that the when the stolen car was passing Officer Torres, Officer Coughlin was shooting not only at the stolen car itself, but in Torres’ direction, the board said.
The car kept going anyway, past Coughlin and Torres and toward another police vehicle occupied by two other officers who were responding to the scene. Coughlin kept shooting at the rear of the stolen vehicle, and Torres fired one shot at the car too, the board said.
The Jaguar ended up crashing into the second police vehicle, and the video footage showed that Coughlin and Torres were not only shooting in the direction of the Jaguar, but also toward the other two officers in the second police car, the board said.
All of this happened in a period of six seconds, the board said.
O’Neal was killed by one gunshot wound to the back, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.
Police at the time said O’Neal, 18, refused to stop the vehicle and “rammed head on” into a marked squad car, injuring two officers. After impact he got out and ran.
The medical examiner’s office report said, “During the foot pursuit shots were fired by other unidentified officers on the scene and possible by O’Neal,” though it was later determined that O’Neal was unarmed.
The Police Board ruled that Officer Coughlin endangered everyone around him the way he was firing his gun, while Officer Torres violated and endangered people rules by driving down a one-way street and parking the squad car in the middle of the street to try to keep the stolen Jaguar from proceeding – when in fact, there was room for the Jaguar to pass and hit another squad car.
The final settlement on the agenda for Thursday is a proposed $250,000 payout to the family of 27-year-old Martice Milliner. According to published reports, a CPD officer shot Milliner in the Chatham neighborhood in July 2015, after he pointed a gun at an officer
Police reportedly were responding to a call of a man with a gun near 75th and Langley, when they approached a man who matched the suspect’s description, and he started to quickly walk away. When an officer grabbed Milliner by the collar, police said he reached for his gun, and the officer shot him. As Milliner fell to the ground, he pointed his gun at the officer, who shot him again, police said, according to published reports.
If approved by the Finance Committee, the proposed settlements would go to the full City Council for a vote next week. If any of the settlements is rejected, city attorneys could either try to negotiate a lower settlement, or the case could go to trial.MORE NEWS: 1 Killed, 6 Wounded In Weekend Shootings Across Chicago