CHICAGO | With three new settlements this week and more lawsuits pending, Chicago's price tag for legal claims against its police force is climbing and already has surpassed the $27 million the city set aside for this year.
The City Council agreed to settle three lawsuits this week for nearly $7 million. That's on top of the more than $32 million aldermen signed off on weeks ago in two police misconduct cases. With three more lawsuits stemming from one of the most shameful chapters in the department's history — the torture of murder suspects by detectives under the command of former Lt. Jon Burge — still in the legal pipeline and two more federal lawsuits filed this week, the total could climb significantly higher.
City law department spokesman Roderick Drew said the city now will use bonds to cover settlements, as it has done in the past.
The largest settlement this week was for $4.5 million to the family of 22-year-old Rekia Boyd. Drew said that Boyd was walking down the street on March 21, 2012, when an off-duty police detective sitting in his own vehicle got into an argument with a group of men nearby. Thinking one of the men had a gun as he approached his vehicle, the detective "started firing blindly over his shoulder," with one of the bullets striking Boyd in the head, killing her. "She had nothing to do with any of it," Drew said.
A second settlement, for $550,000, stemmed from a lawsuit filed by a woman who was injured in a traffic accident involving a police car.
In another settlement, the city agreed pay $1.8 million to James Andrews, 45, who spent more than half his life in prison for two 1983 homicides and alleged in his lawsuit that detectives working under Burge beat him until he confessed.