Chicago IL Civil Rights: City recommends $16.5 settlement in police custody suit

05/12/2010 // West Palm Beach, Florida, USA // Sandra Quinlan // Sandra Quinlan

Chicago, IL—Approximately half a million individuals who claimed they were detained for too long or improperly treated by Chicago police over a span of 10 years may be eligible to receive damages. The City Council Finance Committee advised the city to settle the pending litigation for approximately $16.5 million on Monday, May 10, 2010, as reported by the Chicago Tribune.

The lawsuit was filed in 2004 and represented individuals who claimed they were either kept in custody for too long or treated inappropriately by Chicago police officials.

Reports stated plaintiffs were initially seeking an excess of $100 million in damages before the settlement was recommended. According to the attorney representing the city, Corp. Counsel Mara Georges, “In a case where you have a demand of over $100 million, to settle it for $16.5 million is a good result.”

If the settlement were to move forward, the city of Chicago would be required to pay $15 million. The city’s insurer would reportedly cover the remaining costs.

If the settlement is approved on Wednesday, up to 512,000 people whose civil rights were violated may be entitled to compensation. Damages will reportedly range from $90 to $3,000, depending on individual circumstances.

Individuals with claims of alleged constitutional violations (relating to this particular case) may be eligible, based on the following conditions:

• Up to 12,000 individuals arrested on felony charges from March 15, 1999 to February 10, 2008, who were “not given probable cause hearing within 48 hours” are being represented in the case. They may be entitled to a maximum award of $3,000.

• Individuals held in interrogation rooms between October 21, 2001 and March 10, 2010 “for more than 16 hours without a mattress or pad to sleep on, regular meals or sufficient bathroom access” are also included. Awards under these conditions would be limited to $2,000.

• Those who were locked up overnight from October 21, 2001 to March 10, 2010, without adequate bedding may be entitled to a maximum of $90 in damages as well.

Chicago officials have also allegedly worked towards preventing such issues and civil rights violations from being repeated. According to information provided, padded mats were made available for all over-night detainees. Rules to make sure those being held over-night are provided with sufficient meals and bathroom breaks were also put into place.

The Cook County Circuit Court also set up a “duty judge” system to guarantee all individuals arrested on felonies probable cause hearing within 48 hours.

The case continues.

Legal News Reporter: Sandra Quinlan- Legal News for Illinois Civil Rights Lawyers.

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