Protesters Against Police Violence Sue Chicago Police for Racially Motivated Police Violence

November 19, 2020

Protesters Against Police Violence Sue Superintendent Brown, CPD and City of Chicago for Racially Motivated Police Violence

60 People – – including members of Black Lives Matter, #LetUsBreathe Collective, GoodKids MadCity – – join together to file an unprecedented lawsuit seeking justice after they were viciously attacked by Chicago Police Officers at the historic protests against racist police violence this summer. 

60 protesters have joined together to file a civil rights lawsuit against Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown, other Chicago Police Officers and the City of Chicago for the violence they all endured when they were exercising their constitutional rights protesting anti-Black police violence at the protests in Chicago this summer. 

The Plaintiffs filed a 200+ page legal complaint in federal court alleging they were repeatedly attacked by Chicago Police Officers who unjustifiably beat them with batons, tear gassed and pepper sprayed them, tackled them to the ground, and kettled them on public streets without giving them the required orders to disperse. The Plaintiffs alleged they were attacked and beaten in strikingly similar ways at eight different protests that occurred over the summer, in the Loop, Hyde Park, Grant Park, Uptown, and Old Town, on May 29-31, June 1, July 17, and August 15, 2020.  

The Plaintiffs are represented by People’s Law Office attorneys Joey L. Mogul, Ben Elson, Janine Hoft, Jan Susler, and Brad Thomson, along with Vanessa Del Valle of the Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center; Sheila A. Bedi of the Community Justice and Civil Rights Clinic at the Northwestern Pritzker School of Law; Brendan Shiller, Sierra Reed, Tia Haywood, and Wayne Slaughter of Shiller Preyar Jarard & Samuels. 

Miracle Boyd, a member of GoodKids MadCity, is one of the Plaintiffs who was viciously attacked when punched in the face by a Chicago Police Officer causing her to lose two teeth, when attending the Black, Indigenous Solidarity Rally (Decolonize Zhigaagoong) in Grant Park on July 17, 2020, said “CPD used violence to try to stop our movement. But we won’t be silenced. This lawsuit is about holding police accountable for all the harm they inflicted on us this summer. But it’s also about the righteousness of our demand to defund CPD. We need to invest in our communities, not police who beat young people trying to remake their world.” 

Many of the protesters suffered concussions or broken bones after being repeatedly hit with batons on their heads and other parts of their bodies, requiring medical treatment. Several Plaintiffs needed stitches to bind the gaping wounds in their heads and on their bodies. Others sustained bruises that lasted for weeks.  [See the complaint for pictures of injuries].

“Chicago Police Officers used lethal force, time and time again this summer, when they repeatedly hit protestors on their heads with their batons.  This excessive force was not only unconstitutional, and illegal, but violates the CPD’s own policies regarding the use of “impact weapons,” said Plaintiff’s lawyer Joey Mogul of the People’s Law Office.   These officers need to be fired from the CPD so they cannot harm any others, and the City needs to compensate people for these substantial injuries. 

Adding insult to serious injuries, many protesters were also falsely arrested and charged with crimes or violations of Chicago municipal ordinances based on false allegations, resulting in their prolonged detention in CPD lock ups amid the COVID-19 pandemic.  All the charges/violations brought against these plaintiffs have been dismissed. 

The complaint also alleges that the CPD effectuated racially motivated arrests of protesters, even though the protests were attended by multi-racial crowds of people, the majority of whom were white.  According to CPD records, during the initial weekend of protests (May 29 – 31), CPD arrested 2,172 people and 70% of those arrested were Black, even though Black people compromise only 32% of the City of Chicago.

“During this summer’s uprisings, CPD used every tool they had to beat us, detain us, to punish us for demanding a world without police. Police officers brutalized me, pushed around my children, and left my friends laying in the street covered in their own blood. said Amika Tendaji, Lead Organizer for Black Lives Matter Chicago. This kind of violence can’t be reformed. This isn’t about a lack of training. It’s about policing being rotten to the core.” 

Chicago Police Officers also regularly took or destroyed protesters’ personal property, including their bicycles, cameras, eyeglasses, goggles, backpacks, and phones.  Some were deprived of medication while locked up resulting in further unnecessary injuries.

An astronomical number of complaints alleging Chicago Police Officers engaged in brutality and misconduct at the summer protests have been filed with the Civilian Office of Police Accountability (“COPA”). Of the 520 complaints received, 58% of those complaints alleged Chicago Police Officers used excessive force and 9% alleged verbal abuse. The number of protest complaints is so large that COPA formed a specialized team of investigators solely dedicated to investigating these allegations.  As a result of COPA’s preliminary investigations into the protest complaints, it referred 5 officers to state/federal law enforcement for potential criminal prosecution and has recommended that 8 officers be assigned to modified duty and/or be relieved of police power, but no other officers involved in protest-related abuses have been disciplined thus far. 

“These systemic and ongoing violations continue unabated and undeterred despite the City of Chicago being subject to a Consent Decree for almost two years.  CPD’s failure to comply with the Consent Decree deadlines coupled with its consistently illegal and violent response to the summer 2020 protests demonstrate that the Consent Decree has entirely failed to create any meaningful change in the CPD,” said Sheila A Bedi, one of the lawyers representing the Plaintiffs.

This past summer tens of thousands of people coalesced to protest the unrelenting anti-Black police violence plaguing Chicago and the nation. In doing so, they made history by joining the largest social justice movement the U.S. has ever experienced. The complaint alleges that the CPD and other City agencies responded to these demonstrations with brutal, violent, and unconstitutional tactics that were clearly intended to injure, silence, and intimidate Plaintiffs and other protesters from protesting CPD and other police officers’ racially motivated violence. The CPD also consistently targeted protest leaders, marshals, legal observers, medics, and individuals recording the demonstrations with unlawful, retaliatory, and lethal force.

The lawyers argue that CPD’s response to the summer 2020 protests is consistent with the CPD’s long-standing policies and practices of using abusive tactics and excessive force against protesters for progressive social change.  The lawsuits notes the violence protestors suffered at the hands of Chicago Police Officers when they demanded fair labor practices in 1877; spoke against racism and segregation prior to the 1919 race riots; protested the Vietnam war at the 1968 Democratic National Convention; opposed housing discrimination in 1977; opposed the Gulf War in 1990; acted up for people with HIV/AIDs in 1990s and early 2000s; opposed the Iraq War in 2003; and held a counter demonstration to then Presidential candidate Trump’s scheduled rally at UIC in 2016. 

The lawsuit also documents how costly police violence is for the City of Chicago and how much taxpayer money is expended to compensate people for their pain and suffering and wasted paying law firms to defend the indefensible. The most recent civil rights class action brought on behalf of those beaten and detained en masse at the infamous anti-Iraq war demonstration on March 20, 2003, cost the City of Chicago approximately $15 million, with the plaintiffs receiving over $6.4 million in settlement awards. Around $9 million was paid to attorneys for the plaintiffs and outside counsel hired by the City to defend the CPD and City in fees and costs.  

You can read the complaint here.

Class Action Lawsuit Filed Challenging Illegal Detention of People in the Winnebago County Jail

On Sunday, August 2, 2020, five people incarcerated in the Winnebago County Jail filed a class-action lawsuit alleging widespread and systemic violations of the Fourth Amendment rights of people accused of felony charges in Winnebago County. Adults with pending felony charges who are arrested on Friday evenings or on weekends are incarcerated in the Winnebago County Jail and routinely denied required probable cause hearing until the next regular business day. The lack of weekend bond hearings in Winnebago County results in extended detentions without any hearing before a judge and violates the Fourth Amendment. Four of the five named plaintiffs were arrested at demonstrations on Friday, Juy 31 and Saturday, August 1, organized by the May 30th Alliance demanding that charges against Black Lives Matter demonstrators arrested after the police murder of George Floyd are dropped.

The Supreme Court has held that anyone held in police custody must be brought before a judge within 48 hours for a determination of probable cause to detain. By failing to hold any hearings for people facing felony charges on weekends, the 17th Judicial Circuit Court is flagrantly disregarding these people’s constitutional rights.

It is deeply disturbing that this flagrantly unconstitutional practice has been taking place in Illinois’ second largest county jail. People across Illinois have been demanding reforms to the pretrial justice system because of the impact of jail on our communities, yet Winnebago County is not even following existing laws. No one should be incarcerated for days before seeing a judge–especially while they are presumed innocent. A weekend in jail can have serious impacts on a person’s life and cause lasting negative effects. That is why there must be protections in place before someone is jailed while awaiting trial.

The lawsuit names Eugene G. Doherty, the Chief Judge of the Circuit Court of Winnebago County, as a Defendant and seeks an immediate injunction ordering Chief Judge Doherty to begin holding probable cause hearings for individuals arrested on the weekends. The suit also names Winnebago County Sheriff Gary Caruana for his role in turning a blind eye to the unconstitutional detentions at his facility.

People’s Law Office attorney Brad Thomson along with attorney Adele Nicholas filed this case yesterday. It was brought to their attention by our friends at the Chicago Community Bond Fund.

Lawsuit Filed Today to Stop the Deployment of Paramilitary Federal Agents to Chicago.

People’s Law Office attorneys along with lawyers from Loevy & Loevy, Shiller Preyar Jarard & Samuels, Community Justice and Civil Rights Clinic at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, and the Mandel Legal Aid Clinic at the University of Chicago School of Law filed a lawsuit today against the Trump administration to stop the deployment of paramilitary federal agents to Chicago. Read the entire lawsuit here and watch the press conference here.

Victory in Chicago Freedom School’s Lawsuit Against the City of Chicago

Today, we are proud to announce a victory in Chicago Freedom School’s lawsuit against the City of Chicago.

Today, the City of Chicago rescinded the cease and desist order it issued to the Chicago Freedom School on May 30, 2020!

On May 30, CFS, located in the South Loop, opened its space to provide support (including take-out pizza and store bought snacks for free) and rides home to Black and Brown young people protesting the racist police murders in downtown Chicago.

CPD officers and members of the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) showed up at CFS’s door and aggressively demanded to search the premises asserting that CFS was “housing and feeding protestors,” insinuating that was a crime which it is not.

After searching the premises, BACP members issued CFS an illegal “Cease and Desist” order falsely claiming the CFS was “preparing and serving food” on its premises without a commercial Retail Food Establishment License. CFS staff were threatened with arrest and the CFS fined if they continue to provide youth participants commercially prepared food, thereby shutting down this not for profit organization.

Joey Mogul of People’s Law Office and Sheila Bedi of the Community Justice and Civil Rights Clinic of Pritzker Northwestern School of Law filed a lawsuit in federal court on June 25, 2020 challenging the violations of CFS’s, Executive Director Tony Alvarado-Rivera’s and Wellness Director Jacqulyn Hamilton’s constitutional rights and demanding a preliminary injunction to prevent the enforcement of this illegal cease and desist order.

Today, the BACP formally rescinded the cease and desist order.

Check out CFS’s statement about this victory.

We are proud to represent CFS and we are inspired by their work in supporting young Black and Brown people in the City and their courage in standing up to the City of Chicago, CPD and BACP to demand respect for their rights and work.

Chicago Freedom School files lawsuit against City of Chicago, Chicago Police Officers and City Officials after retaliatory raid, “cease & desist” order, and threats of arrest.

On May 30, 2020, the Chicago Freedom School, located in the South Loop, opened its space to provide support (including take-out pizza and store bought snacks) and rides home to Black and Brown young people protesting the racist police murders in downtown Chicago.

At 11 p.m., several Chicago Police Officers and members of the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) showed up at CFS’ door and aggressively demanded to search the premises asserting that CFS was “housing and feeding protestors.”

“Many youth who had just experienced police violence while protesting said violence, came to CFS to use the bathroom, drink water, and get connected to a ride home – since the Mayor had just instituted a curfew, raised the bridges, and shut down the CTA.  We chose to open our doors for immediate safety because we are dedicated to young people’s well-being,” says Wellness Director Jacqulyn Hamilton. “The City & Police colluding to search CFS that night, without a warrant, and threaten to arrest staff present, including myself, for daring to serve pizza – was in character for how this City and police treat Black & Brown young people – with disdain.” 

After searching the premises, BACP members issued CFS a “Cease and Desist” order falsely claiming the CFS was “preparing and serving food” on its premises without a Retail Food Establishment License. The order directed the CPD to arrest CFS employees if they continue to provide youth participants commercially prepared food and fine CFS $500-1,000 each day it continues to provide food, thereby effectively shutting down this small, not-for-profit organization.

“We appreciate the love & support we have received from our community, in light of our mistreatment at the hands of the City of Chicago and the Chicago Police Department. We are bringing this lawsuit to ensure that none of our programs, young people, or staff are at continued risk, and to affirm our support for the righteous protests against police violence against Black people and for the defunding of police,” says incoming Executive Director, Tony Alvarado-Rivera.

Chicago Freedom School Executive Director, Tony Alvarado-Rivera addressing the media.

The lawsuit seeks to stop the City from enforcing this order. The suit also seeks vindication and damages as the search and order are attempts by City and CPD officials to retaliate against the CFS for exercising its 1st Amendment rights to support young people and to support the protests against racist police violence. Read the filed complaint here.

Plaintiffs’ attorneys are Joey Mogul of the People’s Law Office and Sheila Bedi of the Community Justice and Civil Rights Clinic at the Northwestern Pritzker School of Law.

People’s Law Office summer 2020 intern Avneet Chawla, legal worker Kris Clutter and attorney Joey Mogul. Photo by the wonderful Debbie Southorn

“We are outraged that the CPD and BACP illegally raided the CFS’s premises and issued an illegal, unconstitutional, and frankly bogus, cease and desist order to the CFS” said Joey Mogul and Sheila Bedi. “The Chicago Freedom School provided critical support to young Black and Brown people on May 30th. They should be revered for their work, not threatened with arrest and being shut down.”

The Chicago Freedom School is a non-profit organization, inspired by the Mississippi Freedom Schools of the Civil Rights era, which provides a space where young people and adult allies can study the work of past movements, deepen their understanding of current social problems, build new coalitions, and develop strategies for change.  Learn more at ChicagoFreedomSchool.org

Cook County Public Defender, Community Groups, and Defense Attorneys File Lawsuit Against City of Chicago for Denying People in Police Custody Access to Counsel and Phones

The Cook County Public Defender on Monday joined a broad coalition of community groups, activists, and attorneys in filing a lawsuit against the City of Chicago for denying people in police custody access to counsel and phones.

The lawsuit further states that the City’s history of unlawful refusals became more widespread following the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent citywide protests over police brutality and racism. Follow the link to view the filed lawsuit.

“Since 1963, the law has required that every person arrested is entitled to communicate with their loved ones and counsel,” said Cook County Public Defender Amy Campanelli. “For seven decades, Chicago police have not been held accountable for this systemic violation of human rights. If the police just followed the law, we would no longer be the false confession capital of the world and communities would have greater trust for and cooperation with the Chicago Police Department.” PD QUOTE

Under Illinois law, people who are arrested have the right to communicate and consult with an attorney and the right to make phone calls within an hour of arriving at their first place of custody.  However, the Chicago Police Department has a long history of depriving arrestees access to a phone to reach out to counsel or loved ones.

On Friday, May 29, and throughout that following weeks, more than 2,600 demonstrators were arrested by CPD and many were denied access to counsel. The lawsuit details how CPD systemically impeded attorneys from finding and talking to their clients.

In filing the suit, the Public Defender joins a coalition that includes Black Lives Matter Chicago, Stop Chicago, #LetUsBreathe Collective, UMedics, and GoodKids MadCity. Each organization has members who were detained and denied their right to make a phone call and contact their attorneys. The National Lawyers Guild Chicago, also a plaintiff in the suit, has been denied access to clients in police stations, including during the recent protests. 

”On Sunday May 31st, I was slammed to the ground and beaten with batons by CPD while trying to protect my brother and his fiancée, #LetUsBreathe co-founders Damon Williams and Jennifer Pagán, and our comrade Christopher Brown,” said Kristiana Colon of the #LetUsBreathe Collective. “Horrified by the excessive force and unjust targeting of my family and fellow organizers, I did my best to intervene and was injured in the process. When I arrived at 51st & Wentworth to try and locate them, the supervising officer told me they weren’t there. I asked again if he was telling the truth and he said he had no reason to lie to me. After several hours of fear and confusion, it turned out they were there after all, but were denied access to counsel for several more hours. Our organization supports mutual aid efforts across the South & West sides, and had to redirect our time and resources to a rapid response rally to get our people out of jail. This is one of the many ways superfluous police encounters are a theft of the energy that should be spent on keeping people safe.”

“I sat in the hospital handcuffed to a wheelchair for nearly 8 hours before I saw a lawyer,” said activist and artist Damon Williams, who was arrested following a protest on May 31, 2020. “I hadn’t slept. I thought I was alone. I was afraid I would be locked up with no end in sight. I wasn’t the only person in custody crying out for information and asking to talk to my lawyer. I have nightmares about being in custody and terrified that I’d be locked up without any explanation or contact with the outside world.”

The City and the Chicago Police Department has cynically used  the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as an excuse to deny people their rights while under arrest.  After Gov. Pritzker issued his stay-at-home order on March 20, the Public Defender was forced to curtail in-person attorney-client visits, and informed CPD that all attorney-client conversations would take place by phone until further notice. CPD refused to coordinate mandatory confidential telephone visits for clients in custody unless and until the Public Defender agreed that CPD would not be liable if they overheard any attorney-client conversations. The Public Defender alternatively asked for virtual visits with clients, similar to the system used by the Cook County State’s Attorney to talk to its witnesses. That request was denied.  

Between April 16, 2020 and June 5, 2020, the Public Defender’s Office surveyed 1,468 people in bond court. Nearly a quarter (23%) stated that CPD never offered them access to a phone at any point while they were detained at the police station. Those who were allowed phone access were forced to wait an average of 4.2 hours.

“Denying phone access is a key CPD scare tactic to impede access to counsel,” said Alexa Van Brunt of the MacArthur Justice Center, which represents the plaintiffs. “The result is that detainees are cut off entirely, without legal guidance or protection from police coercion.”

The recent practice is just an exacerbation of the decades-long practice to deny arrestees access to attorneys and phone calls. It is a practice that was called out by the current Mayor when she was part of the Police Accountability Task Force that formed following the shooting of Laquan McDonald.

“We had documented for decades how the denial of phone access leads to false arrests, false charges and wrongful convictions, and costs the City money,” explained First Defense Legal Aid Executive Director Eliza Solowiej, who served on the Task Force with the current Mayor, and was part of the team that found that requiring access to phones with in a hour of arrest (as required by state law) would be one of the foundational reforms to ending police misconduct.

Plaintiffs have filed a writ of mandamus in the Circuit Court of Cook County Chancery Division to force the City to comply with Illinois law governing access to counsel and to phones.

Plaintiffs are represented by Brendan Shiller of Shiller Preyar Jarard & Samuels, Craig Futterman of the Mandel Legal Aid Clinic at the University of Chicago Law School, Alexa Van Brunt of the Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center, Sheila A. Bedi of the Community Justice and Civil Rights Clinic at the Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, Joey L. Mogul of the People’s Law Office, and Daniel Massoglia of First Defense Legal Aid

ANNIVERSARY OF REPARATIONS LEGISLATION

Today, May 6, is the 5th anniversary of the Reparations legislation. This unprecedented legislation providing reparations to Chicago Police Torture (Burge) survivors passed Chicago’s City Council on May 6, 2015.  The legislation provides concrete, redress for the two decades long pattern of racially motivated police torture committed by and under the command of notorious former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge’s at Area 2 and 3 Police Headquarters from 1972 to 1991, including:

·a formal apology for the torture

·the creation of a history lesson about the Burge torture cases taught in Chicago Public schools to 8th and 10th graders;

·the creation of the Chicago Torture Justice Center in Englewood, Chicago that provides specialized counseling and social services to the Burge torture survivors, family members and all impacted by police violence;

·the creation of a $5.5 million Reparations Fund for Burge Torture Victims that provides financial compensation to 57 of the Burge torture survivors who are still with us;

·free enrollment in Chicago City Colleges for the Burge torture survivors, immediate family members and their grandchildren recognizing the legacies of harm caused by the torture and decades of incarceration suffered by the Burge torture survivors and families; and

·the creation of a public memorial to the Burge torture survivors.

The legislation was the fruit of decades of litigation, independent journalism and organizing, which included a concerted grassroots campaign led by Chicago Torture Justice Memorials (CTJM), Project NIA, We Charge Genocide and Amnesty International, USA, during the midst of #BlackLivesMatter movement of 2014 and 2015. We are grateful to Black People Against Police Torture for their work in sounding the initial demand reparations.

We are proud of our work in representing survivors of police torture at the hands of Burge and other Chicago officers in civil rights litigation and post-conviction proceedings. We continue that work to this day as People’s Law Office continues to fight for the freedom of police torture survivors who remain incarcerated and are now at serious risk due to COVID-19.

We are also grateful to have had the opportunity to work, build relationships and struggle alongside so many police torture survivors, their family members and other organizers.

This video, by Tom Callahan, is a small encapsulation of these decades of work. Click the link here.

People’s Law Office During CoronaVirus/Covid 19 Pandemic

PEOPLE’S LAW OFFICE REMAINS COMMITTED TO CLIENTS AND COMMUNITIES

Due to the CoronaVirus/Covid 19 pandemic, all of the staff at the People’s Law Office are working from our homes. We are operational and continue our zealous representation of our clients during this difficult time. There may, however, be a delay in our receiving USPS mail and deliveries and urge all to contact us by telephone or electronic mail if possible to assure the most prompt response.

We currently anticipate that this will continue to be the new normal through April 30th consistent with federal and state court closures as well as state and municipal orders.

During this unprecedented time, we wish health and safety to all and look forward to the day when we can again interact with each other in close proximity.

The Stanley Wrice Jury Returns

By: Flint Taylor

This article was initially published in InJustice Watch on March 11, 2020.

Just before the City of Chicago, apparently with Mayor Lightfoot’s blessing, took the Stanley Wrice case to trial last month, I wrote that it was still not too late for the city to offer a fair settlement to compensate Wrice for his brutal torture and coerced confession. The mayor stood, I wrote,  “at a legal and political crossroads; the question is whether she will stand with the torturers or torture victims. As lawyers like to say, ‘The jury is still out.’”

Ignoring history, the overwhelming evidence of systemic police torture, her own prior admissions and this warning, ship Lightfoot steamed ahead to trial with the officers represented by a team of five lawyers, four of whom were Andrew Hale and his coterie of private lawyers collecting handsome sums of additional “pinstripe patronage” at the taxpayer’s expense.

This crew, captained by Lightfoot’s handpicked Deputy Corporation Counsel Caryn Jacobs, set out to win the case at all costs, both financial and political, by slandering all six of the witnesses who averred that they had been tortured by Jon Burge henchmen John Byrne and Peter Dignan.

Preening around the courtroom they unabashedly attacked these torture survivors as a pack of liars, and took every opportunity to remind the jury that Wrice had confessed to participating in a brutal rape of a white woman — a charge that Wrice once again steadfastly denied during his testimony.

On the other hand, Dignan and Byrne chose not to sit through the trial, save for their appearance on the witness stand to take the Fifth Amendment when asked about their torture of Wrice and numerous other victims. Instead, their surrogate, Fraternal Order of Police Local 7 vice president Martin Preib, a close personal and political ally of Burge, Dignan, and Byrne, sat as their watchdog throughout the trial. Well before trial Preib had written a letter to Lightfoot on union stationary,  urging her  not to settle the case, claiming that the whole torture scandal was a hoax.

At the conclusion of the eight-day trial, the nine-person jury retired to deliberate late on March 2. Composed of seven women and two men, four of whom were of color, they selected a twenty-three-year old white woman as their foreperson. After approximately five hours of deliberation the following day,  the jury announced its verdict against the officers and for Wrice  on his coerced confession and conspiracy claims, and for the defense on the fabricated evidence claim. The damages award was most telling — $4 million in compensatory damages, and $600,000 apiece against Byrne and Dignan individually. The punitive damages award — extremely high in a police brutality case — spoke volumes about what the jury thought of Byrne and Dignan’s systemic conduct — a condemnation that was made despite the fact that Burge’s name could not be spoken before the jury.

So what does this verdict mean to the taxpayers? Instead of the two to four million that would have been a reasonable eve of trial settlement, (and one that would have been accepted if offered) the city now owes the four million dollars, plus the fees of Wrice attorney Jennifer Bonjean and her team. The City is held responsible for  those compensatory damages and fees, and – though state law forbids  it– has often ended up paying the punitive damages assessed against the officers And, of course, the City also owes the additional fees that Hale and company racked up trying the case.

So, instead of the $2-4 million an eve of trial settlement would have cost, the city now stands to owe more than $8 million in addition to the $2 million already paid in pinstripe patronage. And if the City decides to continue to fight this case the attorneys’ fees meter will continue to run.

Before the trial began a second set of taxpayer financed defense lawyers won a motion separating the case against the city, which rests on whether the torture was part of a pattern and practice, to be decided later. That case appears a slam dunk for Wrice and Bonjean because all they have to show is that the torture of Wrice by Byrne and Dignan was part of a policy and practice of torture that was conducted under the command of Burge — a practice that is now an uncontestable reality that City policymakers, most particularly Lightfoot, Rahm Emanuel, interim Superintendent Beck and the Chicago City Council have admitted, and a raft of federal and state courts have unequivocally affirmed. Lawyers (including the author) will be lining up to question these unquestionably material policymaking witnesses.

So Lightfoot is now not only confronted with a financial dilemma – – -whether to stop the unjustifiable bleeding of taxpayer money – – – but also whether she will now at last intervene to stop her lawyers from chasing the unconscionable agenda of the Fraternal Order of Police and own up to what she preached about Chicago police torture when she was a candidate for office.

The jury has spoken. Will Lightfoot?

People’s Law Office Remembers Rafael Cancel Miranda

Puerto Rican National Hero and internationally respected freedom fighter Rafael Cancel Miranda has joined his revolutionary ancestors on March 3d. In an audacious act of militancy, Rafael along with Lolita Lebrón, Andrés Figueroa Cordero and Irvin Flores, attacked the U.S. Congress in March of 1954, spraying bullets down into the House of Representatives, to bring to the world’s attention the efforts of the U.S. government to cover up the colonial subjugation of the Puerto Rican people.

Along with Oscar Collazo, who attacked the Blair House in 1950, the then temporary home of President Truman, the four became among the longest held political prisoners in U.S. history. An international campaign, led by the people of Puerto Rico and Puerto Ricans in the diaspora, obtained their unconditional release from President Carter in 1979. The five had refused to seek parole or to accept any conditions on their release. They insisted that they were not criminals and the U.S. had no right to treat them as such.

The People’s Law Office, with Michael Deutsch taking the lead, had the honor to also play an important role in the campaign for the release of the five Nationalists, challenging their isolation in U.S. prisons, helping to get an earlier medical release for Andrés, and coordinating with lawyers from Puerto Rico to help support the campaign.

Over the last 40 years since his release, Rafael has been a critical voice in support of Puerto Rican independence, writing, speaking and marching to expose U.S. colonial control over Puerto Rico. He has written several books of prose and poetry, and has been an enduring symbol of the spirit and commitment for freedom of the Puerto Rican people. His love for his people was a inspiration to all who fight for liberation. His spirit lives on. Presente!