Chicago alderman gave their blessing Thursday to a $4.9 million dollar payment to the family of a woman killed in a violent crash involving Chicago police.
The settlement would close one chapter of a baffling story which began June 27, 2017, when two Chicago Police officers chased fellow officer Taylor Clark down Roosevelt Road at speeds topping 100 mph. Clark was off duty, and the officers claimed his black Jeep Cherokee matched the description of one involved in a carjacking several weeks before.
When the chase reached Kostner Avenue, Clark ran the red light, crashing into a car driven by 27 year old Chequeta Adams. Both were killed. After nearly two years of investigation, the Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA) recommended the firing of Officer Jamie Jawor, who was driving the pursuing vehicle.
First Assistant Corporation Counsel Renee Rodney told the City Council Finance Committee, that the city would almost certainly lose if the case went to trial, and that the near $5 million settlement was “in the best interest of taxpayers”.
“The Jeep did not appear to be violating any traffic laws, and it made one lane change using its turn signal, and moved in a normal manner,” Rodney told aldermen. “A jury would likely find that her conduct (Officer Jawor) was willful and wanton, and contributed to cause the death of Chequeta Adams.”
Rodney also noted that Jawor had failed to activate her lights until just before the crash---contrary to policy and leading to speculation that Clark might have thought he was being followed by potential “criminal elements”.
“This case is not just about a police officer driving too fast---it is also about police officers using a false pretext for reckless and willful and wanton conduct, in order to cover up the truth,” James Montgomery Jr., the Adams family attorney, told NBC5. “CPD has experienced a crisis in confidence over the last several years, and it is critical that leadership root out any such behavior and restore our faith in all members of the department.”
The proposed settlement now goes to the full City Council for approval. A separate case, filed by Clark’s family, has not been resolved.