City council panel recommends $6.4M for 2 police custody deaths

EMBED </>More News Videos

Unlike the Laquan McDonald settlement, the city council was very public and deliberative as it added to the hundreds of millions of dollars it has spent on police misconduct. (WLS)

The family of a man who died after being dragged from his jail cell by Chicago police will receive nearly $5 million as part of a settlement approved Monday by the City Council Finance Committee.

Unlike the "under the radar" Laquan McDonald settlement, the city council was very public and deliberative as it added to the hundreds of millions of dollars it has spent on police misconduct.

"The law department recommends settling this case for $4.9 million," said Steve Patton, Chicago Corporation Counsel.

As he and previous city attorneys have done repeatedly, Patton asked the city council to settle another police abuse lawsuit. It involved the death of Philip Coleman, the University of Chicago graduate who during a mental breakdown in 2012 was Tased by police 16 times and dragged handcuffed from a jail cell after his family requested he be taken to a mental hospital.

"And then for the police officers to disregard anything that they said completely, maybe that young man would be alive today," said Ald. Carrie Austin (34th Ward).

Then Patton added $1.5 million to the day's tab for an Albany Park asthmatic who died in 2014 because his arresting officers denied him the use of his inhaler.

"We cannot continue to shell out millions and millions of dollars every year and no accountability whatsoever," said Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th Ward).

Both incidents are still under investigation by the Independent Police Review Authority and no officers in either case have been disciplined. Patton denied his law department is part of a system that enables officer misconduct.

"Comments like that kind of confuse the role of the law department. We don't choose to defend these cases," Patton said.

Finance Committee Chairman Ed Burke noted the city supposedly set new guidelines for how police handle mental health episodes after it paid over $22 million to Christina Eilman in 2006.

Ald. Austin said, a decade later, IPRA should answer why police officers are not following council directives.

"That, IPRA has to speak for. They have to wear that jacket in regards to that," Ald. Austin said.

Several aldermen said Monday's payouts and the fact that most of the officers involved in the cases are still working will add impetus to the proposal to abolish IPRA and replace it with citizen-controlled police oversight.
Related Topics:
politicschicago police departmentsettlementchicago city councilChicago - DowntownChicago - Albany Park
(Copyright ©2016 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.)

Load Comments