People’s Law Office Wins Jury Trial in Civil Rights Case

People's Law Office, a civil rights law firm in ChicagoPeople’s Law Office attorneys gained a major victory on April 26 when a federal court jury returned a verdict in favor of PLO client Reggie Bryant, awarding him $70,000. This verdict includes a whopping $45,000 in punitive damages, intended to penalize the defendants for their egregious acts and to deter other officials from such behavior.

Mr. Bryant, who is African American, was the victim of a baseless Order of Protection obtained by a disturbed white woman. When defendant deputy sheriffs Steven Hill and James Lenti came to serve the Order they first talked to the woman and then subjected Mr. Bryant to a stream of racist abuse – including “dumbass n——” and “do you like to f— white girls” – before throwing the Order on the ground and telling him “pick it up, n—–.” When Mr. Bryant called 911 to report the sheriffs’ abuse, the sheriffs handcuffed him, knocked his head into the side of their squad car, and then charged him with several criminal offenses.

Lawyers from People’s Law Office successfully represented Mr. Bryant in three separate proceedings: getting the Order of Protection thrown out; obtaining not guilty verdicts on all counts at the criminal trial; and finally obtaining a damages verdict in his civil rights lawsuit. Key to the successful representation was early investigation which led to the discovery of an independent witness who had heard some of the racial slurs; subpoenaing the 911 tape which recorded defendant Lenti telling Mr. Bryant he was arresting him for “being a dumbass”; and preservation of a security camera tape which put the lie to the defendants’ story that Mr. Bryant struck them and resisted arrest.

To learn more about excessive force cases People’s Law Office has handled, visit the Police Brutality page.

To see other successful verdicts and settlements by People’s Law Office attorneys, visit the Victories page.