More than half a million people could be eligible for cash awards in a proposed $16.5 million settlement of a class-action lawsuit accusing Chicago police of mistreating suspects, city officials said.
The City Council Finance Committee on Monday recommended approval of the settlement in the federal civil rights case, filed in 2004 on behalf people who claimed they were subjected to an "institutionalized system of police torture" that included being deprived of adequate food and water.
If approved this week by the full council, up to 514,000 people could be eligible for awards between $90 and $3,000. The amounts could be reduced if too many people apply.
Some one-time suspects might be eligible for three separate awards totaling $5,090, according to case documents. The city would pay the first $15 million in costs, and an insurer would cover the rest, said Mara Georges, the city's top lawyer.
At one point, plaintiffs sought far more, Georges said. "In a case where you have a demand of over $100 million, to settle it for $16.5 million is a good result," she said.
Loevy & Loevy, a civil rights law firm, could receive legal fees of up to $5 million from the $16.5 million settlement fund, out of which administrative costs also would be paid, according to court documents. Attempts to reach the firm's attorneys were not successful.
According to the lawsuit, people were arrested without warrants, shackled to a wall or metal bench and given infrequent meals, few bathroom breaks and no bedding in a manner "consistent with tactics of 'soft torture' used to extract involuntary confessions in other parts of the world."
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Chicago cops mistreated half a million people.
From the Chicago Tribune: