City Council’s Finance Committee OKs $11.2 million in settlements tied to alleged police wrongdoing
Throw another $11.2 million onto the mountain of settlements tied to allegations of wrongdoing against Chicago Police officers.
The City Council’s Finance Committee did just that on Monday in, what has become an all-too familiar and costly ritual for alderpersons determined to shield beleaguered Chicago taxpayers from the even bigger risk of a jury trial.
The largest of three settlements tied to allegations of police abuse goes to Norman McIntosh, who spent 15 years in prison for a gang-related murder he did not commit.
He was released from Stateville Correctional Center in 2016 just hours after a Cook County judge vacated his 2002 murder conviction after three witnesses, the brother of murder victim Devon Hobson, admitted to having fingered the wrong man because they were pressured by detectives to do so.
Deputy Corporation Counsel Jessica Felker told the Finance Committee two of the defendant detectives knew of a nearby grocery shooting two weeks before the murder in which McIntosh, a Vice Lord, was a suspect. The same type of weapon was used in that shooting.
McIntosh also had a gray car similar to the one used in the shooting, but detectives told it was in an “impound lot” after being “towed by the city months earlier.”
“Years after the trial in 2015, all of the victims recanted and stated they falsely identified Mr. McIntosh. Mr McIntosh claims that the detectives fabricated their police reports about the identification procedures and coerced and otherwise suggested who to pick,” Felker said.
McIntosh’s attorney also found records showing McIntosh’s car was in the impound lot at the time, Felker added.
The second-largest settlement — $4.25 million — goes to the family of Maurice Granton Jr., an unarmed man fatally shot during a 2018 foot chase by CPD Officer Sheldon Thrasher.
Assistant Corporation Counsel Caroline Fronczak noted Supt. David Brown has moved to fire Thrasher for using excessive force in shooting Granton, 24, in the back as he tried to jump over a fence as police chased him at the 4700 block of South Prairie Avenue in Bronzeville .
Brown further accused Thrasher of “failing to timely activate his body-worn camera” and “engaging in an unjustified verbal altercation with bystanders after the shooting.”
The chase began after officers monitoring a police POD camera allegedly observed Granton and others “engaged in narcotics transactions” under the Green Line tracks at 47th Street and Prairie Avenue, Fronczak said.
“Although the footage is not 100% clear, it does appear that Granton’s hands were empty when he tried to scale the wrought-iron fence,” she said.
“After being shot, Granton fell off the fence into the vacant lot. Civilians, including some of the people who had been selling drugs with Granton on the POD camera, began to approach and began yelling at Thrasher and at Granton. On video, Thrasher can be seen and heard saying, `You see your homie right there? You see your homie shot . . . Get back, get back.’ Also captured on video is Granton attempting to move while on the ground gasping for breath.”
The proposed firing remains in the hands of the Police Board.
Five of the police union’s Staunchest Council supporters voted against the settlement: Marty Quinn (13th); Silvana Tabares (23rd); Gilbert Villegas (36th); Nick Sposato (38th) and Anthony Napolitano (41st).
The final police-related settlement — for $195,000 — stems from allegations of excessive force, illegal seizure and malicious prosecution tied to a 2020 street stop near the intersection of Augusta Boulevard and Hamlin Avenue, an area “known for gang activity.”
Fronczak said two Chicago Police officers were “on routine patrol” when they noticed Leroy Kennedy “walk away from a group of people holding his waistband.”
After approaching the offender, the officers claim, Kennedy “swatted away” one of the officer’s arms. When they tried to place Kennedy under arrest for battery, Kennedy resisted.
One officer “attempted to conduct a front-collar emergency take-down” but “missed and, instead, grabbed plaintiff by the throat,” Fronczak said.
“The plaintiff suffered abrasions to his face and leg that came from the takedown and the defendant officers called for medical attention. He’s also claiming emotional damages because of this incident.”
The final settlement — for $917,500 — stems from allegations of negligence by the Chicago Department of Transportation, not police doing wrong. It goes to a 65-year-old woman who suffered severe arm and leg injuries in July 2018 after falling into an uncovered manhole masked by grass and weeds.
The manhole cover had gone missing in 1980 and had been the subject of a previous lawsuit.