The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Man Paralyzed After Police Taser Incident Should Get $9.5M, Committee Says

By Stephen Gossett in News on Sep 5, 2017 10:20PM

Photo of a police taser from October, 2011. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

A City Council committee approved a $9.5 million payout on Tuesday in the case of a man who was left paralyzed and unable to speak after he hit his head on the ground when a police officer struck him with a Taser. If approved by the City Council, the sum would be the largest settlement of any related to law enforcement use of a Taser in Chicago history, according to the Tribune.

In July of 2011, Chicago police were called by medical emergency crews in Little Village after Jose Lopez was uncooperative, Ald. Ed Burke (14th) reportedly said at the Council committee meeting. (A hospital later found that Lopez had cocaine and PCP in his system.) Responding officer Stevan Vidljinovic used his stun gun on Lopez, who dropped to the pavement.

Some aldermen were hesitant to award the large figure but ultimately decided there was no way around it. "As someone who votes against more of these settlements than anybody, we don’t have a choice in this $9.5 million," said Ald. Nick Sposato (38th), according to the Sun-Times. "None of us want to pay this $9.5 million, but we have no choice."

Burke however noted that Lopez will “require full-time, lifetime care" due to the "serious injuries, catastrophic in nature" that were sustained.

A jury had found that Vidljinovic did not intentionally severely injure Lopez but did administer excessive force, according to the Tribune.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel made a commitment in December of 2015, in the wake of the Laquan McDonald shooting death scandal, to increase the use of Tasers among the rank and file. But as the record-breaking settlement point up, they pose very real hazards of their own. The city last year awarded the family of Philip Coleman a $4.9 million payout who died after he was struck with a Taser while lying on a cot in his prison cell in 2012.