Jury finds police officer liable in excessive force case | Victim awarded $785K

June 20, 2012 (CHICAGO)

A federal jury deliberated a day and a half before finding Chicago Police Officer Jennifer Harris liable of using excessive force on Angel Moore.

Moore, an Englewood resident who filed the civil lawsuit four years ago, says the money won't make up for what she's lost. She says she had to undergo several surgeries after the incident, but she's nearly blind now.

"I don't want to know nothing about her," said an emotional Moore. "I just want to erase her from my life. She did enough ... I just want my life back."

Moore, who has had eye problems since childhood, says an encounter with Officer Harris essentially ruined her one good eye and took more than her eye sight. She says it took away her independence.

"I'm limited to the things I can do," she said. "I have to wait on people to take me places. It's very hard for me. I'm not used to that."

Moore and her twin sister, Asia, were walking to a South Side gas station near 76th and Halsted in April of 2008. Police stopped them for violating curfew even though they were 20 years old. Moore says the stop turned physical when Officer Harris got involved.

"She just started punching me in the back of the head, and then she snatched me by my neck and threw me on the ground and started kicking me," said Moore.

Neil Toppel, the twins' attorney, says this case is about officers following the law.

"Yes, it's tough out there, but it doesn't mean that the constitution doesn't apply. It does apply out there. It applied to the Moore sisters and applies to everyone else in the city of Chicago, in rough neighborhoods," Toppel said.

Now the city of Chicago must pay nearly $800,000 to Moore; Officer Harris must pay $2,250.

The city released the following statement regarding the case: "The Chicago Department of Law is currently weighing our options, including whether to appeal the verdict."

Angel Moore says it boils down to one point.

"I was right. I wasn't wrong. They was wrong. The law agreed with me. They was wrong," Moore said.

The lawsuit accused Officer Harris of five other allegations, including battery and false arrest, but the jury did not find her liable on those counts. She is on full duty with the department.

Three other officers were named in the lawsuit, but they were not found liable for any claims.

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