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Council Agrees To Pay $5.5M To Settle Three Police Misconduct Lawsuits

By Heather Cherone | December 14, 2016 5:31pm
 Darius Pinex, left, and Cedrick Chatman were killed by Chicago Police officers.
Darius Pinex, left, and Cedrick Chatman were killed by Chicago Police officers.
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CITY HALL — The City Council agreed Wednesday to settle three police misconduct lawsuits, putting an end to years of legal wrangling.

Cedrick Chatman

The family of a teen shot to death by police while running away will get $3 million, the council agreed.

Cedrick Chatman was shot by police while running away from officers in South Shore. Video of the incident was released in January 2015 after a three-year struggle by the family.

Cedrick was in a stolen car with two others on Jan. 7, 2013 when officers Lou Touth and Kevin Fry pulled the car over near 75th Street and Jeffrey Avenue.

City attorneys told aldermen that the city could have been forced to pay "far in excess" of $3 million if the case went to a jury because of the video.

That recording could have been used to show that Cedrick was not turning toward the officers when Fry opened fire, killing him, lawyers said.

In addition, the video undermined Fry's claim that he had a "reasonable" fear for his life because Touth was closer to Cedrick, but did not fire on the teen, lawyers said.

Aldermen Nicholas Sposato (38th), Milly Santiago (31st) and Anthony Napolitano (41st) voted against the settlement.

Napolitano and Sposato, whose wards include a high percentage of police officers, said they could not vote for the settlement since Cedrick was in a stolen car.

"He broke the law," Napolitano said, adding that Cedrick should not have been killed. "But I can't Monday-morning quarterback the officers."

Darius Pinex

The family and friend of a man shot to death in 2011 by Chicago Police officers during a traffic stop will get $2.34 million, the council agreed.

Darius Pinex was shot to death after Officer Gildardo Sierra and Officer Raoul Mosqueda pulled the father of three and a friend over in January 2011.

Pinex was shot after the officers approached his car with their guns drawn. He attempted to flee from the officers by putting his car in reverse and accelerating, hitting a tree and light pole before accelerating forward, according to city officials.

Both officers shot at the car. The first officer said he opened fire believing that his partner was being dragged by the car, while the second officer fired when the car accelerated toward his partner, who was standing in the street, according to city officials.

A gun was recovered in Pinex' car.

However, a federal judge ruled in January that an attorney for the city intentionally concealed evidence during a trial. The judge overturned a jury verdict that cleared the officers of wrongdoing, and harshly criticized the city for concealing evidence from the Pinex family.

Sposato and Napolitano also voted against settling the Pinex case.

"I feel like if they didn't break the law, this wouldn't have happened," Sposato said.

Emmanuel Williams

In the third police misconduct lawsuit settled Wednesday, the council agreed to pay $175,000 to a man who claimed police officers falsely arrested him and charged him with drug and weapons possession.

Williams spent 13 months in jail before being acquitted of all charges after a video contradicted two officers' account of his arrest. Both officers have been stripped of their police powers while an investigation in ongoing, city lawyers said.

The council voted unanimously to approve that settlement.

Fire Department Gender Bias

In another case, the council agreed to pay $3.8 million to resolve a years-long federal lawsuit that claimed the Chicago Fire Department discriminated against female African American prospective firefighters.

In all, the city will have paid $8.1 million to 59 prospective female firefighters, officials said.

Ald. David Moore (18th) said he hoped the city would learn from the lawsuit, and its high price tag.

"We need to make our fire department and police department representative of this city's diversity," Moore said.

Napolitano was the only alderman to vote against that settlement.

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