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Police Misconduct Cases Cost City Taxpayers $10.2 Million (Just This Week)

By Heather Cherone | September 6, 2017 3:54pm | Updated on September 8, 2017 8:26am
 A police-issue taser gun.
A police-issue taser gun.
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Wikimedia Commons/Junglecat

CITY HALL — The City Council agreed Wednesday to settle four police misconduct lawsuits for a total of $10.2 million, putting an end to years of legal wrangling surrounding the cases.

Jose Lopez

A man who was severely injured after he was shocked with a stun gun by a Chicago police officer, causing him to fall and hit his head, will get $9.5 million, the City Council agreed.

Ald. David Moore (17th) cast the only no vote against the settlement.

Jose Lopez was injured on July 22, 2011, after his friend called paramedics after Lopez began experiencing chest pains, according to court records.

Paramedics called police after they said Lopez was not having a heart attack but was under the influence of drugs and posed a threat to himself and others. The man tested positive for cocaine and PCP, according to the city's attorneys.

While police said Lopez swung at an officer, Lopez' attorneys said he was not combative before he was shocked, according to court records.

Lopez, who worked as a tow truck driver, is now a quadriplegic and requires around-the-clock care, according to the city's attorneys.

Obama Victory Party Pepper Sprayed

Seventeen people who were pepper sprayed by police officers on Nov. 4, 2008, while celebrating Barack Obama's election as president on Chicago's West Side should share a $395,000 settlement, the council agreed.

The lawsuit alleged that while the peaceful celebration took place on sidewalks, porches and backyards in Austin, officers ordered people to return to their homes without cause. Some officers began shouting expletives, and using pepper spray — which contains a chemical mix designed to irritate eyes and cause tears and pain — on the crowd.

Dominique Franklin

In the third police misconduct lawsuit settled Wednesday, the council agreed to pay $200,000 to the family of a man who died after he was shocked twice with a stun gun by police.

Police chased Dominique Franklin after an employee at the Walgreens at North Avenue and Wells Street told them he had just stolen a bottle of vodka, according to city attorneys.

Officers said Franklin resisted arrest and fled after being hit by the stun gun the first time. Officers shocked the 24-year-old man a second time and he hit a light pole and fell to the ground, unconscious, bleeding from his ears, attorneys said.

Franklin suffered severe brain damage and died approximately two weeks later, attorneys said.

Halderon Murphy

In the final police misconduct lawsuit settled Wednesday, the council agreed to pay $120,000 to a man who spent 3½ years in prison for a crime he said he didn't commit based on evidence fabricated by Chicago police officers.

Halderon Murphy was brushing his teeth in a friend's Jackson Park Highlands apartment when officers arrived to search for another man.

Murphy was arrested after telling them there was a gun inside his friend's purse. Because of Murphy's criminal history, he was charged with being an armed habitual criminal and sentenced to 6½ years in prison.

Murphy's conviction was reversed after an appeals court determined the officers' search was illegal. The Cook County State's Attorney declined to retry him, and dismissed the charges.

At the time of his arrest, Murphy was working as a plumber and had two young children, ages 6 and 9.