Committee OKs more than $3 million to settle police misconduct cases

By Hal Dardick, Chicago Tribune reporter December 13, 2011

A City Council committee Monday approved paying more than $3 million to settle two cases of alleged misconduct that, according to one key alderman, indicated “a troubling pattern” in Chicago Police Department lockups.

Police and civilian detention aides were accused in two separate lawsuits of ignoring obvious signs of medical distress that resulted in the deaths of people held in custody.

“It’s clearly indicative of a pattern that is very troubling,” said Ald. Edward Burke, 14th, a former police officer and attorney. Burke is chairman of the Finance Committee, which recommended the settlements be approved at Wednesday’s full City Council meeting.

“In the ordinary scheme of things, from just a human perspective, people should be treated with compassion and humanity,” Burke said. “But from a more practical sense, the taxpayers are now suffering to the extent of millions of dollars because these officers in detention facilities have ignored what appears to be clear signs of people in distress.”