Oscar Guzman, Autistic Boy Beaten By Chicago Police, Could Get Half Million Dollar Settlement From City
The family of an autistic teen who they say was beaten by police could receive a $525,000 settlement, as recommended by a City Council committee Tuesday.
Oscar Guzman was 16 on April 22, 2009 when two police officers approached him outside is family's Little Village restaurant, where he was watching pigeons, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. Guzman reportedly ran into the restaurant when officers approached him, and they followed. A struggle ensued, reportedly after Oscar's parents say they explained he had special needs, and after Oscar identified himself as "a special boy." Guzman was struck in the head with a retractable baton, causing four-centimeter laceration that had to be closed with staples at a nearby hospital.
The two police officers involved also allegedly threatened to arrest Guzman's sister, Nubia, then a college student, with arrest after she questioned the officers' actions, according to the Sun-Times.
The officers involved said Guzman reached towards his waistband before entering the restaurant, suggesting he might have had a weapon, according to the Chicago Tribune. They claim Guzman was struck "inadvertently" when the 16-year-old pushed the officer wielding the baton in the chest.
The City Council's Finance Committee recommended the $525,000 settlement in response to a lawsuit brought on Guzman's behalf, Fox Chicago reports. The settlement will face a full council vote Wednesday.
Aldermen Ed Burke, 14th, and Ray Suarez, 13th, have been vocal advocates for Guzman's case.
"I support the police department 175 percent, but I don't like abuse. This is a clear, clear, clear case of abuse," said Suarez, who suggested the payment was insufficient, according to the Tribune.