Chicago Has Racked Up A $9 Million Police Misconduct Tab So Far This Year

By aaroncynic in News on May 17, 2016 4:36PM

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By Aaron Cynic/Chicagoist

Chicago is poised to pay out another $3.2 million in two more lawsuits by families of people shot and killed by police. The City Council Finance Committee approved two settlements Monday involving alleged police misconduct, one of which the officer who shot and killed Laquan McDonald played a minor role, the Tribune reports.

The City will pay $2.2 million to the family of Emanuel Lopez, who was shot at 42 times by police in 2005 after a car chase on the South Side. Lopez, a 23 year-old janitor on his way to work, allegedly drove off after a car accident and a chase involving five officers in two cars— one of whom was off duty—ensued. Police alleged that after Lopez was boxed in, he drove at the police and pinned one officer on the ground. Officers fired 42 times, striking Lopez 16, killing him. He was unarmed.

Evidence however, cast serious doubt on the story told by police. A ballistics expert concluded the officer allegedly pinned by Lopez’s car could not have fired his weapon while pinned. Attorney Terry Ekl, the family lawyer, accused police of faking tire prints found on the officer’s pants. The off duty cop on the scene who fired 16 shots, Pedro Solis Jr., admitted in a deposition he had been drinking, downing two beers shortly before the incident unfolded.

“There were doubts about how the shooting occurred and how those bullets entered his body,” said Ald. George Cardenas, who called the settlement “long overdue” according to NBC5. “If he’s attacking the officers, how does somebody attack from the back? How is it that I walk backwards to attack somebody? It doesn’t make any sense!”

Officer Jason Van Dyke, the cop facing murder charges for fatally shooting Laquan McDonald 16 times, was also on the scene that night in 2005 to write a report. However he conducted no interviews, and instead used a typed story detectives handed him.

The Finance Committee also approved a $1 million settlement of a suburban man shot and killed by Chicago Police in 2013. Ryan Rogers an East Hazel Crest man was under investigation by multiple agencies in a suspected cell phone robbery ring. Officers, who had been instructed not to allow anyone to leave the home, tried to stop Rogers and two others from leaving in an SUV. Police say Rogers pinned an officer between his SUV and their undercover van, but his family contends that cops shot as he was driving away and evidence to prove their version of the story was concocted after the fact.

If the full City Council approves the two lawsuits on Wednesday, Chicago will have paid out more than $9 million in police misconduct lawsuits for this year alone. According to CBS2, the city paid out more than $6 million for 2 lawsuits in April—one in which a man was killed by police with a taser, and another in which a man was severely beaten. Since 2004, Chicago has paid a staggering $660 million involving cases of police misconduct.