CHICAGO (AP) — The city of Chicago is poised to pay more than $5.3 million in two police shootings that made national headlines at a time when the city had just begun its desperate struggle to restore public confidence shattered by the release of a video of a white officer killing black teenager Laquan McDonald.
On the agenda for the City Council’s finance committee on Monday are recommendations for a settlement of $3 million with the family of a black teenager, 17-year-old Cedrick Chatman, and nearly $2.4 million with the family of Darius Pinex, a black, 27-year-old father of three.
Pinex was shot by police during a traffic stop in 2011, and Chatman was shot by police in 2013 after he jumped from a vehicle that he was suspected of taking in a carjacking.
But both cases made national headlines in January, just over a month after a judge forced the city to release dashcam video of a 2014 incident in which a white police officer named Jason Van Dyke shot the 17-year-old McDonald 16 times.
That video sparked major protests, prompted Mayor Rahm Emanuel to fire Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy and led to local and federal probes. As the city was scrambling to contain the fallout from the McDonald video, a federal judge accused a city attorney of hiding evidence in a civil lawsuit brought by relatives of Pinex and ordered a new trial.
That same month, a federal judge lifted a protective order related to the video of Chatman’s last seconds and the city dropped its longstanding opposition to making the video public. That video doesn’t clearly answer whether the teen turned toward the officers who were chasing him, or whether he was holding anything. One of the officers said he believed Chatman was armed, but investigators said the black object found at the scene was an iPhone box.
In Pinex’s case, the officers who stopped his car contended that they did so because it matched a car involved in a shooting they had heard about over their police radio. They said they shot Pinex after he refused their orders and put his car in reverse.
City officials would not comment on the proposed settlements, but the finance committee and the full City Council almost always follow the recommendations of the law department. If the aldermen do agree to the settlements it would add to a staggering total of well over $660 million the city has spent on police misconduct cases since 2004.
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