The Chicago City Council is preparing to pay $2.3 million in response to a police shooting lawsuit which led to the resignation of a Law Department supervisor and the suspension of two deputies.
The settlement, writes the Chicago Tribune, was reached in January. Only yesterday was the exact dollar amount made public, pending approval from the City Council’s Finance Committee on Monday.
If the sum is cleared by the committee, it’ll be sent ahead to the full council for a vote midway through next week.
‘The $2.3 million figure,’ reports the Tribune, ‘marked the latest fallout in a string of missteps by attorneys for the beleaguered Law Department, who have been accused repeatedly of failing to turn over crucial evidence in police misconduct cases.’
A large payout isn’t all Chicago has to suffer for the non-fatal shooting. U.S. District Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer, who approved the settlement, says she intends to sanction the city for its litigatory shortcomings.
At the center of the suit is Jaquise Evans, who was only 16 years old when he was shot by Chicago police Officer Richard Salvador in August of 2015.
Officer Salvador and several of his colleagues were responding to a call on the city’s South Side. Evans, along with 15 to 20 other teenagers, had congregated in a residential street for an informal memorial.
A panicked Evans tried to run but soon realized there was nowhere to go. He tripped, dropping his cell phone, and tried to stand back up, hands raised in the air.
Then, claims the suit against Salvador and the Chicago, the officer opened fire from behind the door of a police car, hitting Evans three times.
“This was a young African-American male who was shot down wrongfully,” said attorney Sam Adam, Jr., who represents Evans. “At trial, we could have proved he was wrongfully shot down.”
According to Adam and Evans, Chicago’s Law Department and its lawyers intentionally withheld evidence that may have helped the plaintiffs build a case. Among the missing proof was a file containing several citizen complaints against Salvador, which weren’t disclosed until the trial was almost complete.
Law Department attorneys also had a Facebook video, which showed Officer Salvador threatening and verbally abusing a handcuffed suspect ‘just weeks before he shot Evans.’
“Didn’t that trouble you at all?” asked an irate Pallmeyer, anger focused on the LD. “I am not asking you as a judge. I am asking you as somebody who cares deeply about the city of Chicago.”
Alarmingly, Salvador had been named in another recent civil rights lawsuit. Representing him in litigation was the same attorney, Assistant Corporation Counsel Scott Cohen, who defended him against the accusations of Adam and Evans.
Cohen never told Pallmeyer or Evans’ legal team that he’d previously worked with Salvador – let alone in a similar case of police misconduct.
Cohen was suspended for 30 days without pay, both for overlooking his own history of litigation and failing to present evidence to the opposing counsel.
City to pay $2.3M to settle police shooting case exacerbated by legal misconduct
City poised to pay $2.3 million in police shooting lawsuit settled after accusations lawyers withheld evidence
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