New abuse allegations against North Chicago cop

July 16, 2012 9:27:12 PM PDT
A North Chicago police officer who was disciplined in a case involving the death of a suspect in custody faces new abuse allegations.

Janet Manzella, the woman behind the latest allegations, says her complaints have been ignored, and she says she is scared.

"I jumped behind a board I was so scared, I curled up shaking wondering if that man was going to shoot me," said Manzella.

Her voice was shaking as if the incident just happened. Manzella, 47, tearfully told the North Chicago City Council about how she was allegedly was beaten up by a police officer.

In October 2010, Manzella says she called the police to report her neighbors, who she suspected of dealing drugs.

"When he pulled up, he started hugging on the people next door, the ones that I called on, and he pointed at me and said, 'Go get your ID,'" said Manzella.

Manzella says she went to get her ID, and the next thing she knew, the officer busted open her door and slammed her up against the wall. At the time, Manzella says she was recovering from spine surgery.

"I was pinned between him and the wall, my walker, because I would transfer from my walker to the chair, my walker went flying into the bathroom," said Manzella.

Manzella says the same officer physically grabbed and harassed her a few weeks later when she was shopping at a Walmart. Manzella told the city council she tried several times to file a report, but her complaints fell on deaf ears.

Manzella's alderman, Valerie DeVost, was with Manzella when she tried getting help from the city.

"She was refused to be able to file a report, and I was there," said DeVost.

Manzella says that had North Chicago taken her complaints seriously two years ago, Darrin Hanna might still be alive today.

The officer Manzella is accusing of abuse was suspended for 30 days for his role in Hanna's death. Hanna died in police custody last year.

Monday night, Hanna's mother consoled Manzella, who begged North Chicago's mayor to help her.

"I couldn't get help from anybody - this city - the system - everything failed," said Manzella.

In the wake of the Hanna incident, the police chief retired. The interim police chief met with Manzella Monday night and agreed to conduct an investigation.


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