Saturday, December 9, 2023

In 23 years Chicago has paid out $700 million in cases were police framed suspect

Multimillion-dollar payouts come before the Chicago City Council on an almost monthly basis, with the largest sums typically going to victims of police misconduct. Since 2000, the city has paid out nearly $700 million in 300 cases in which people said they were framed by Chicago police, reported the Chicago Sun-Times.

Of that, $138 million went to outside lawyers who defended the city.

The tally covers only federal lawsuits and does not include fees awarded to the plaintiffs’ lawyers. Also not included are police-related lawsuits alleging misconduct such as false arrest and excessive force, or for crashes and fatal shootings.

“The city is looking at, easily, a billion-dollar liability over the last 23 years, with plenty more on tap,” said Andrew M. Stroth, a civil rights attorney whose nonprofit organization, Truth, Hope & Justice, collaborated on the report with the global law firm Ropes & Gray, the Law Firm Antiracism Alliance and Chicago-based insurance and risk management firm Aon.

Stroth is currently representing James Gibson in a lawsuit against the city, alleging he was tortured by former Chicago police Cmdr. Jon Burge into a false confession that landed him in prison for nearly 30 years.

“As far as I can tell, they have no strategy for how they evaluate these cases,” Stroth said. “And that is delaying justice for men like James Gibson at phenomenal costs to taxpayers.”

Law Department spokeswoman Kristen Cabanban said Wednesday that “the city is keenly aware of the complexity and special challenges presented by reversed conviction cases and continues to give careful attention to these cases both individually and as a group.

“However, the Law Department cannot comment publicly on ongoing litigation or provide litigation assessment,” she added. “Nor do we authorize the firms we engage to comment because doing so is inconsistent with our professional obligations and could jeopardize efforts to resolve these matters in a way consistent with the city’s best interests.” 

Rivera was one of the first people to be exonerated based on claims of misconduct against former Chicago police Det. Reynaldo Guevara. The report lists 11 active lawsuits involving claims against Guevara.

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