While Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy is basking in the glow of the "professionalism" and "restraint," demonstrated by his officers during the recent NATO summit, away from the television cameras of the international news media that reputation for "professionalism" and "restraint" is taking a beating.
Last week, the Chicago City Council squeezed taxpayers for $12 million to settle two wrongful arrest lawsuits thanks to police misbehavior, described as "idiotic" by an appellate court, over police mishandling of a March 20, 2003 anti-Iraq War protest.
Chicago is paying $12 million-plus $3.5 million in previous legal costs-to settle the suits, including a federal class-action suit by 900 people arrested during the 2003 protest. All charges against the protesters were dropped.
Has the Chicago Police Department learned anything about wrongful arrests since its 2003 mishandling of the 2003 protest that is costing Chicago taxpayers more than $15 million?
The short answer is: no.
While the city council was busy voting to hand over sacks of Chicago taxpayer money, the Chicago Police Department was being hit last week with three more wrongful arrest and brutality lawsuits that were quietly filed in Chicago federal court. Those suits came on the heels of two other wrongful arrest and brutality federal lawsuits filed in April and May.
That's five wrongful arrest and brutality federal lawsuits filed against 19 Chicago Police officers in the last 60 days.
Chicago Police officers named in the suits, for example, arrested Chicago residents involved in routine traffic stops for possession of "controlled substances" -- such as a wife's clearly marked GNC vitamins on March 12, 2012 or a mother's prescription blood pressure medication on May 5, 2011.
Chicago police arrested witnesses for photographing an auto accident in which a Chicago Police captain, Kevin Navorro, allegedly driving an SUV in the wrong lane hit a motorcyclist on August 30, 2011.
Chicago police allegedly brutalized a bystander, Horace Howard, who witnessed an arrest in Chicago's Lakeview Neighborhood on June 15, 2010 for voicing an unwelcome comment about the incident. The comment resulted in an alleged kick in the groin by officer A. Torres, and landed Howard in the Advocate Masonic Emergency Room with two chipped teeth, lacerations about the head, 13 stitches, and a dislocated hip.
Chicago police allegedly brutalized a driver who allegedly disobeyed a turn signal on January 21, 2012. That the driver, Lenere Smith, had his left arm in a sling from rotator cuff surgery 10 days earlier won him no forbearance.
The officer, Daniel Smith, with gun drawn, allegedly wrenched Smith's injured arm from the sling, threw him to the ground, and tried to handcuff the alleged turn signal violator on the behind his back despite screams of pain and pleas. No matter. Failing to force both arms into cuffs behind the victim's back, the officer finally relented and cuffed him in front of his body. A second officer stood by.
You can't make up this stuff.
Do you know these five recent lawsuits, which were ignored by the Chicago media, share with the 2003 anti-Iraq War protest wrongful arrest lawsuit?
For those who were actually charged, the charges were dropped. Once Cook County judges got a whiff of the "evidence" in court, they dismissed the charges.
But the problems for Chicago taxpayers are yet to come. These five fresh federal lawsuits against Chicago Police officers will likely lead to a batch of Chicago taxpayer-funded bailouts of boorish and brutish Chicago police behavior.
Superintendent McCarthy, good job on the NATO summit.
Now get to work managing your cops when the TV cameras are absent.
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