Mayor Rahm Emanuel set aside $27.3 million to settle lawsuits against the city for all of 2013. He’s already spent nearly twice that much just to settle cases stemming from allegations of police abuse and wrongdoing.
The City Council’s Finance Committee made certain of that on Monday by signing off on three more settlements — for $4.5 million, $1.8 million and $515,000 respectively, the Sun-Times is reporting.
The largest settlement goes to the family of Rekia Boyd, a 22-year-old woman fatally shot by off-duty police Detective Dante Servin, who inadvertently hit Boyd after opening fire on a man he said pointed a gun at him.
It happened on March 21, 2012.
Boyd was walking to the store with a friend in the area of Albany and 15th Place behind two men, one of whom they knew from the neighborhood.
That’s when Servin drove past the group in his personal vehicle, told the men to be quiet and got into a shouting match with a man in the group who pointed a cell phone at the off-duty detective and started walking toward the officer’s vehicle.
“Detective Servin…then drew his weapon from his holster on the right side of his body and pointed the gun out the driver’s side window across his body. Detective Servin fired five shots blindly over his left shoulder in the general direction of” the man, said First Assistant Corporation Counsel Leslie Darling.
“One bullet hit [the man] in the right hand and one hit Rekia Boyd in the back of the head as she was running from the scene. Ms. Boyd suffered extreme brain damage … and died approximately 36 hours later. No weapon of any kind was recovered from anyone other than Detective Servin at the scene. No witness saw [the man] with any weapon.”
The $1.8 million settlement will go to James Andrews, who allegedly confessed to a 1983 double murder because of police torture linked to convicted former Area 2 Cmdr. Jon Burge. Andrews spent decades in prison before his conviction was overturned in 2007.
The settlement is identical to the $1.8 million paid last summer to Andrews’ co-defendant David Fauntleroy.
Corporation Counsel Stephen Patton said Monday there is “strong evidence” from ballistics in the case that Andrews and Fauntleroy “committed the crime for which they confessed.”
But Patton said that is “not an excuse for torture,” which Andrews claims was “personally coordinated and supervised” by Burge.
“Mr. Andrews claims he wasn’t read his Miranda rights. He wasn’t allowed access to an attorney, but more troublesome, that he was coerced into confession being beat on the head with a flashlight, punched in the stomach 11 to 12 times, denied food and bathroom privileges,” Patton said.
Andrews’ sister, who saw her brother the day after his arrest, was prepared to support his claims at trial, Patton said.
“She would testify that he was limping, holding his torso at his side and was obviously in pain,” the corporation counsel said.
Noting that Andrews initially demanded $12 million, Patton said, “I view the payment here as a kind of insurance policy against what could happen here if we were to try the case and lose.”
The third settlement — for $515,000 — goes to a woman injured in a traffic accident with a Chicago Police officer.
Patton said the Andrews settlement means that six of the nine Burge-era cases that Emanuel inherited have now been resolved.
“Three more to go,” he said.
The city is insured only against catastrophic claims exceeding $15 million. Now that settlement funds have been exhausted, the city plans to borrow money to pay excess claims, just as it did to pay nearly $80 million owed to black candidates bypassed by the city’s discriminatory handling of a 1995 firefighters entrance exam.
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