Family alleges police attack election night

November 7, 2008 5:02:38 PM PST
A Chicago family says they were subjected to racial taunts and maced after the election Tuesday. And they believe their attackers were Chicago police officers. Other similar incidents have also been reported.

While the rest of the country and world praised Chicago for how peacefully people celebrated Barack Obama's presidential victory, there are reports of disturbances that night and early the next morning. And the trouble reportedly came from the most unexpected source.

"I remember this navy blue, unmarked car was the alst of the three police cars that was trolling each other, and they rolled past and they yelled out, 'white power ******,'" said Christine Ballard, alleged hate crime victim.

Ballard and Cornelius Voss were in their lawyer's office with their two daughters and a niece Friday. They say they were in the family car with the windows open on West Division Street in the Austin neighborhood Tuesday night when the men in the other car shouted the n-word. Then Voss says the men sprayed mace at Ballard and the children, destroying the family's celebratory mood.

"For it to be the beginning of a new day, it didn't feel like it to me," Voss said.

Voss and his family showed proof of their hospital treatment that night. He says he believes the four men in the blue sedan were police officers because the vehicle had a license plate that began with the letter "M."

On Friday afternoon, the Independent Police Review Authority confirmed that as the celebration in Grant Park ended so peacefully, on the West Side, that night and Wednesday morning there were "multiple allegations involving O.C. spray" used against civilians by suspected police officers. The IPRA would not confirm whether the other complaints involved an unmarked blue sedan or racial slurs.

Ballard and Voss have filed a lawsuit related to the incident. They will use the courts to retrieve surveillance camera videotapes to help them identify the alleged police culprits.

"We thought that Tuesday evening was the beginning of a new era in America. Unfortunately and apparently, some Chicago police officers felt otherwise," said attorney Gregory Kulis.

Other attorneys could reportedly announce lawsuits related to the same alleged incidents in the coming days. And with so many witnesses on the street that night, it's possible the actual license plate number of the offending vehicle may have been noted.


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