Chicago's City Council on Wednesday agreed to pay $525,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by the family of a teen boy beaten by police officers nearly three years ago.
Oscar Guzman was 16 at the time of the April 2009 attack. His family claimed the boy was taking a break outside his family's restaurant, watching cars on West 26th Street, when two police officers approached. They began asking the boy questions he was unable to answer, and when the boy turned to run back into the restaurant, the cops pulled out their billy clubs and began beating him, the family said.
Guzman needed eight stitches to close the gashes in his head.
His family further alleged that, after they called 911, a sergeant arrived, but refused to answer the family’s questions.
"Instead, they allege, he grabbed [Guzman's sister] Nubia Guzman’s wrist and began to handcuff her and threaten to arrest her," Finance Committee Chairman Edward M. Burke (14th) told his colleagues Tuesday.
Officers said they saw the boy reaching for his waistband and believed he had a weapon, but complaints against them were upheld by the Independent Police Review Authority.
Referring to the thousands of protesters expected to descend on Chicago for the NATO and G-8 summits, Burke said, "Just imagine the potential for actions against the city and the possible financial burden the taxpayers are going to have to confront” if police exercise excessive force.
Ald. Harry Osterman (48th) added, “If we look at the money we’re going to shell out and have shelled out [for police abuse settlements] and the fact that all of us in our wards want more police officers, $525,000? That’s seven or eight more foot cops on the street.”
The settlement is the fifth in the last two months. In December, the City Council allocated nearly $4 million to settle four other lawsuits.