A settlement was recently approved by the city to resolve the case concerning Rekia Boyd, who was shot and killed by a Chicago officer in 2012. Police brutality lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm report that this is the sixth case to settle this year concerning Chicago police misconduct.
In March 2012, an off-duty Chicago detective stopped in Lawndale near Douglas Park around 1 A.M. to investigate a reported loud music disturbance. The detective identified himself as a police officer, while still in his vehicle, to a group of people, and got into a shouting match with one of the men in the group. City officials say that a 39-year-old male approached the officer’s vehicle with a weapon in his hand, although the man, Antonio Cross, maintains he did not have a weapon.
It was at this moment that the officer opened fire toward the man, accidentally striking 22-year-old Rekia Boyd in the head. She was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital, but died the next day. Cross was struck by a bullet in his hand. Police later affirmed that Boyd was an innocent bystander, and that no weapon was ever discovered at the scene. The Independent Police Review Authority reported that Cross was only holding his cell phone.
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Alderman Michael Chandler stated that no one, not even city investigators, were on the streets in the ensuing days to speak or identify any witnesses, of which there were many. About 200 of Boyd’s friends, family, and community members showed up to protest at the home of the police officer, however, the following week.
Boyd’s family filed a lawsuit against the city in the following months in an attempt to gain closure. The $4.5 million settlement achieved this somewhat, at least resolving the matter without having to go through years of litigation.
On the same day the city agreed to the settlement with Boyd’s family, the City Council Finance Committee approved two additional settlements involving police misconduct. One case settled for $515,000 in a case involving a woman who was severely injured in a traffic accident with a police officer.
Another settled for $1.8 million, stemming from the wrongful imprisonment of James Andrews, who was convicted of a double-murder in 1983. Andrews was just one of hundreds of victims of police torture linked to former Police Commander Jon Burge. Andrews spent nearly 25 years in prison for the homicides, which he was tortured into confessing to despite his innocence. His conviction was overturned in 2007.
Andrews’ lawsuit named Burge, the city of Chicago, and former mayor Richard Daley, among other defendants. He filed the lawsuit to recover damages for the decades he unjustly spent imprisoned, for the defendants’ illegal practices, and for the unconstitutional actions, policies, and procedures that permitted those illegal practices to occur.
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Between 1981 and 1988 alone, the time period during which Andrews was convicted, more than 87 men allege they were tortured at Area Two on Chicago’s south side in efforts to obtain false confessions. In many of these cases, the State’s Attorney’s Office was aware of the allegations of torture, but used the false confessions to convict these men anyway. To date, more than 200 victims have come forward with their stories of torture connected with Burge.
In 2006, Jon Burge was convicted in federal court of obstruction of justice and perjury. This conviction stemmed from Burge lying under oath when he denied he and his team committed acts of torture. He was sentenced to four and a half years, but continues to collect his pension from the Chicago Police Department. Presently, 20 men remain in Illinois jails that were convicted wholly or in part based on their coerced, false confessions.
Police misconduct lawyers urge anyone who was victimized by police brutality to come forward with their stories. We are currently evaluating potential excessive force and civil rights violations lawsuits.