Civil Rights Suit Filed Over Cop's Punch

"They punch and ask questions later, basically," says LaMonte Simmons

By Charlie Wojciechowski and BJ Lutz
|  Wednesday, Jul 6, 2011  |  Updated 4:44 PM CDT
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In a federal lawsuit, LaMonte Simmons says dozens of officers witnessed another officer attack him but failed to intervene. A neighbor captured video of the incident.

In a federal lawsuit, LaMonte Simmons says dozens of officers witnessed another officer attack him but failed to intervene. A neighbor captured video of the incident.

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A West Pullman man has filed a federal lawsuit against the city, alleging that Chicago police officers violated his civil rights by failing to intervene when one of their own attacked him without warrant or provocation.

LaMonte Simmons, 24, said two Chicago police officers on Aug. 3, 2009 entered a home he was in without a warrant and put one of his friends in a choke-hold.  He said that when in inquired why they were having that way, the officers told him to leave.

Video recorded from a neighbor's cell phone shows Simmons later standing down the street from the home at West 120th Street and South Stewart Avenue. It shows a third officer walk down to him and punch him in the face.

"There were easily a dozen police officers on the scene who watched this particular police officer walk up to LaMonte and punch him in the face.  None of those police officers acted; none of them reported it; none of them acted to suggest that anyone had done anything wrong," said Jon Loevy, Simmons' attorney.

Simmons said he was illegally arrested and later charged with six counts of assaulting a police officer.  He was acquitted of all charges during a trial last year.

"While the police officer is walking up to LaMonte, he puts his leather gloves on.  And at the trial, he testified that he put the leather gloves on because he didn't want to get any blood on his hands," said Loevy.

Simmons said he filed the federal civil rights suit against the department because he doesn't want others to go through what he did.

"I can see the reason people in that neighborhood don't trust police.  They punch and ask questions later, basically," he said.

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