Man Alleges Pattern of North Chicago Police Brutality

A North Chicago man is speaking out about what he believes is a pattern of excessive force by officers on the suburban police force.

Streatha Van Alston didn't pull over when he heard the police sirens behind him in October 2009 because he says he was scared of what might happen. When he pulled into his own driveway, the was surrounded by officers.

"Next thing I know, two or three was stomping me and hitting me with those billy clubs upside the head," Van Alston said.

The officers also used a Taser gun multiple times on the 63-year-old man, resulting in severe injuries and his current confinement to a wheelchair.

Van Alston settled with the city for $90,000, but now he's speaking out because the same officer implicated in his beating, was also involved in the beating death of 45-year-old Darrin Hanna two years later.

There was a pattern and practice in North Chicago where they were repeatedly, we've had 12 cases of various people who were beaten unnecessarily," attorney Kevin O'Connor said.

Hanna's death enraged many in the North Chicago community, including the victim's mother, Gloria Carr.

"We continue on, there's more beatings in North Chicago, more beatings and more beatings, when is this going to stop?" Carr said.

In the wake of those incidents, the old chief stepped down and the new chief, James Jackson, says his department is different than it was only a couple years ago.

"We are using accountability. We are holding officers responsible for their actions," Jackson said. "You have to be engaged with your people out there and working with them."

Residents say they're speaking out in order to keep pressure on the police department to continue removing bad officers.

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