Despite months of public promises from Mayor Lori Lightfoot, the city and Young are no closer to resolving the case in court.READ MORE: One Person Missing, Three Rescued From Lake Michigan In Evanston Amid Dangerous Rip Currents
As CBS 2 Investigator Megan Hickey reported, Mayor Lightfoot said she would make it a priority to settle the case quickly.
“What I’ve directed my law department to do is, with respect to this one, if there is a pending case, get that case resolved,” Lightfoot said on Dec. 15, one day after CBS 2 aired the video.
That was about six months ago, and on Wednesday, Young and her attorney called out the city for dragging its feet.
But city representatives said they have made efforts to settle.
“We’re beyond sitting down with her anymore. We’ve done that, and it didn’t result in any action,” Young said during a news conference outside the Thompson Center Wednesday. “So my words to her are: ‘Mayor Lightfoot, you’ve continued stand in front of the cameras and say you want to resolve this. Either you step up and make real action towards my case and resolve this for me or we’ll see you at trial.’”
Back in March, CBS 2 obtained some emails detailing communications between the City’s law department and attorney Keenan Saulter regarding Young’s case. The emails reveal for the first time how the city responded after Saulter made his first settlement offer in March of 2020. This was after Young initially filed her lawsuit in federal court and before the body camera video was made public.
On March 16, 2020, Saulter emailed a settlement demand to multiple members of the City’s counsel, including Assistant Corporation Counsel Kyle Rockershousen.
On April 2, 2020, Rockershousen replied that the City would not offer Young any money to resolve her case.
“In response to your demand of [redacted], Defendants offer $0 to resolve this matter,” Rockershousen wrote.
At that time, city and police officials, as well as Lightfoot, knew about the body camera video and what it showed, according to internal emails previously released by the city.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Last Weekend Of Summer May Be Among Nicest
On Wednesday, Saulter said during mediation on May 27, the city threatened to file a motion to dismiss. He provided an email to that effect from the city’s outside counsel, Eileen Letts.
“One, the city continues to disrespect Ms. Young and her right to counsel by attempting to separate Ms. Young from my firm,” Saulter said. “Ms. Young made it clear today during the press conference that I only act at her behest, that I have handled her case from the beginning until now at her direction.”
He continued: “During the mediation, which was scheduled to go from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., the City made a take-it-or-leave-it offer before 1 p.m., and they made the decision to walk away from mediation. While we had another proposal on the table, they refused to further negotiate.”
Saulter also said he believes this mediation not being concluded was a waste of taxpayer dollars.
“My attitude has nothing to do with why this case hasn’t settled,” he said. “Conversely, the city’s legal department and the City of Chicago have attempted to bully Ms. Young and me… and that will not continue.”
A spokesperson for the city’s Law Department did not confirm that the city threatened to dismiss the case, but did say that Saulter chose to reject the city’s offers and walked away from further settlement discussions:
““There is no disagreement that the events which occurred at Ms. Young’s home in February 2019 were traumatic for her and the community. No one should have to endure what Ms. Young experienced which is why the City has remained committed to mending the harm done and finding an equitable and expeditious resolution to this matter. We were encouraged when Mr. Saulter finally agreed to Mediation, a Mediation in which the City assumed all costs. We were hopeful that a robust discussion moderated by an experienced former federal judge would lead to a fair and judicious outcome – one that would have fairly addressed Ms. Young’s traumatic experience, but also fair to the taxpayers. Mr. Saulter chose to reject the City’s offers and walked away from further settlement discussions.
“In light of Mr. Saulter’s decision, we have no choice but to litigate. We still believe this is a case that should settle, but Mr. Saulter will have to bring a different mindset to the table. Meanwhile, we will carry on, not litigate in the press, and make no further comment.”
Saulter issued his own statement in response, reiterating some of his earlier remarks:
“The city continues to disrespect Ms. Young and her right to counsel by attempting to separate Ms. Young from my firm.
“Ms. Young made it clear today during the press conference that I only act at her behest that I have handled her case from the beginning until now at her direction.
“The Corporation Counsel’s office continues to refuse to tell the truth. This simply shows that their office under Celia Meza will continue with the same divisiveness and lack of candor that persisted under her predecessor.
“During the mediation which was scheduled to go from 930 to 5 p.m., city made a take it or leave it offer before one o’clock p.m. and they made the decision to walk away from mediation while we had another proposal on the table, they refused to further negotiate” and wasted taxpayer dollars.MORE NEWS: Police Say Christopher Green Jr. Was Found Safe In Ohio After Being Taken From Father In Gary, Prompting AMBER Alert
“My attitude has nothing to do with why this case hasn’t settled. Conversely, the city’s legal department and the City of Chicago have attempted to bully Ms. Young and me…and that will not continue.”