Paralyzed man sues Chicago Police Dept.

July 24, 2008 4:03:46 PM PDT
A paralyzed man is suing the Chicago Police Department, claiming officers beat him following a traffic stop two years ago.Daniel Casares, who is a quadriplegic, says officers pushed, hit and kicked him to the point of unconsciousness.

The lawsuit is seeking unspecified damages against seven officers and the city of Chicago. Casares' attorney says his client was abused by police, then prosecuted for causing the disturbance.

"I can't do anything for myself. I'm sitting in a wheelchair for God's sakes," said Casares.

Daniel Casares was injured in a car crash nearly six years ago. Hit by a drunk driver, the 28-year-old says he tried to tell Chicago police officers that he is a quadriplegic. But instead, he says they attacked him one night in October of 2006.

"I would like to know why those officers did what they did," said Casares.

Casares says he was in a car with his brother, sitting in the passenger's seat when a group of officers pulled them over near his home at 103rd and Avenue M. In a federal lawsuit filed Thursday, Casares' attorney says his client's brother was targeted first.

"They handcuffed him based on the belief, they say, that the occupants of the car had been smoking marijuana. Those marijuana charges were dropped," said Blake Horowitz, Casares' attorney.

Casares' sister says she heard the commotion and ran to the scene to see what she says was police dragging Casares out of the car.

"They just kept repeating, get out the car, get out the car. I'm hearing Daniel scream, telling them, I'm paralyzed, I'm paralyzed, I can't move," said Karina Casares, sister.

"They took a paralyzed man, threw him on the ground and beat him up," said Horowitz.

Casares was hospitalized with bruises and contusions but was charged and found guilty of resisting arrest, a ruling his attorney plans to appeal because he says one officer claimed Casares hit her.

"I can't imagine he has the ability to move in a way that would be designed to fend off a blow because that requires some reflex reaction which he doesn't have the neurological ability to do," said Horowitz.

Horowitz says the federal lawsuit is seeking justice for his client.

"I was scared for my life. I didn't know when they were going stop punching and hitting me," said Casares.

Calls to the city of Chicago Legal Department were not answered and a spokesperson for Chicago Police had no comment because the case is pending litigation. It's not known if any discipline was taken against the officers or if they have been investigated.

For now, Casares says he hopes to see the case move forward to a jury trial.


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