Another day, another $4.75 million in taxpayer money out the door at Chicago City Hall.
The City Council Finance Committee approved three settlements Tuesday, stemming from lawsuits against Chicago Police. The largest, $3.75 million, involved a man named Esau Castellanos, who was shot and killed by officers in March of 2013.
In that case, police said after Castellanos took off and crashed his car, he pulled a gun on them and fired several shots. Officers fired a total of 19 shots, striking Castellanos three times.
But as she presented the proposed settlement to aldermen, First Assistant Corporation Counsel Jane E. Notz said the facts did not match up with the officers’ version of events.
“Neither officer had been shot,” she said. “No gun was recovered, and the only bullets from the scene were from the officers’ guns.”
An angry 12th ward alderman George Cardenas, declared that after still another multi-million dollar settlement, he’s starting to wonder who he can believe.
“We’re not disciplining anybody, nobody’s learning from this,” Cardenas said. “Double digit property tax increases on residents of this city, garbage fees, fees on top of fees---and people are saying enough!”
But that wasn’t the end.
Alderman also approved a $550,000 settlement to Chicago firefighter Robert Cook, who said he was beaten and his family terrorized by a crew led by notorious officer Jerome Finnegan. Finnegan is currently serving a 12 year sentence in federal prison.
And another $425,000 was approved for a woman named Gentila Mitchell. Mitchell sued the city, after a car being pursued by police jumped the curb and slammed into a light pole, which fell on the woman’s two children. Investigators said GPS data indicated the officers were driving 99 miles per hour, chasing offenders suspected only of stealing a car.
“If these officers were in fact pursuing this vehicle—and they denied they were doing it—but if they were pursuing it, it would have been in violation of the department’s pursuit policy,” Notz said.
Earlier this year, NBC5 Investigates reported that in the last ten years, over 140 pursuit-related crashes in the Chicagoland area, have resulted in 108 people killed, and another 216 injured, with more than $95 million paid out in settlements.
The latest settlements approved by the City Council Finance Committee bring to over $19 million dollars in agreed payouts for the City of Chicago from police-related incidents this year.