Police brutality lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm report of the latest settlement Chicago taxpayers will be forced to pay due to CPD misconduct. Julio Martinez recently settled in the amount of $325,000 after an officer allegedly fractured his skull and falsified his DUI arrest.
In 2008, the officer in question, John Haleas, was indicted on four counts of official misconduct and perjury and two counts of obstruction of justice. He was once considered Chicago’s most prolific officer for making nearly 720 arrests in 2005 and 2006, although his police powers were later revoked after being accused of falsifying the DUIs. More than 150 of those charges were dismissed after his arrest.
Two years before his indictment, Officer Haleas falsely charged Julio Martinez with a DUI, handcuffed him, and beat him with a metal bar in a holding room. Martinez is a hemophiliac, which is a blood disorder characterized by the inability of the blood to clot, so that even a minor wound could result in a fatal bleed-out.
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Haleas was indicted in 2008 and relieved of his police duties, however, he did not plead guilty until 2012. During the settlement approval, a City Council’s Finance Committee alderman demanded to know why Haleas was still on CPD payroll (he is now assigned to the Records Division). Alderman Scott Waguespack stated that the city’s negative exposure is only further compounded when officers like Haleas are not immediately fired. A fellow alderman and former CPD officer, Willie Cochran, added that he did not believe Haleas being allowed further employment with the city was appropriate.
Others are saying that this situation is indicative of the larger problems within the CPD. After the department’s “code of silence” was brought to light, it became increasingly clear that CPD habitually failed to investigate and discipline officers who engaged in misconduct.
This code of silence was finally illuminated in a 2007 case involving a female bartender who was beaten by an off-duty CPD officer, which was caught on security camera video tape. The case went to trial, where a jury held that both Chicago and the officer, Anthony Abbate, were responsible for the attack, and awarded the bartender $850,000 in damages.
At trial, the woman testified that several officers and higher-ups tried to cover up and minimize the beating to protect Abbate as part of an unofficial code of silence policy. The federal case led to the resignation of Superintendent Philip Cline.
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In some cases, videos proving innocence are mysteriously destructed. Such was the case in a 2009 arrest, involving plaintiff R.L. Johnson. In May of that year, a Chicago officer was pursuing an alleged robbery suspect when he ran over Johnson. The officer initially denied the incident, but later admitted to hitting Johnson with his car, saying it was merely an accident. Johnson suffered extensive injuries to his leg after being run over.
The video from the squad car camera was said to be missing and was never located. The officer claims Johnson was found with drugs on his person but without a weapon, and he was never charged with the robbery. The court ruled that the video was deliberately destroyed, and the Finance Committee ultimately approved a $200,000 settlement with Johnson.
Although Martinez’s $325,000 lawsuit has been approved by the Finance Committee, it still needed to be approved by the full council, which took place on Wednesday, May 8.
Police brutality lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm encourage anyone who was seriously injured by officer mistreatment to come forward. Our attorneys have decades of experience advocating on behalf of victims of police brutality, and can ensure you will receive the best representation and largest settlement possible for the injustice done to you.