CHICAGO (CBS) – Chicago taxpayers will have to spend nearly $ 25 million to settle three consecutive lawsuits accusing Chicago police officers of misdemeanors, including a $ 15 million payment to the family of an innocent woman killed in a speedy chase in 2020.

Councilors also approved a fourth settlement regarding racist claims that a former Water Department employee brought against his supervisor.

The City Council Finance Committee approved the last batch of settlements on Monday, sending them to the City Council for a final vote on Wednesday.

The largest settlement, approved unanimously by the Finance Committee, is the payment of $ 15 million to the family 37-year-old Guadalupe Franco-Martinezwho died when a Chicago police car crashed into her SUV while rapidly chasing a suspect wanted for multiple violent crimes in the suburbs in June 2020.

A terrible crash at the junction of Ashland Avenue and Irving Park Road took place captured on video obtained by CBS 2 investigators.

As seen in the video, a marked CPD vehicle with its hazard lights on ran through an intersection and crashed into the Franco-Martinez Ford Explorer with such force that the vehicles burst into flames, illuminating the night sky with a flash of light. She had the green light and had just pulled into an intersection when the police ran over the red and crashed into her SUV.

The police car then turned and hit the Hummer, injuring the driver and two passengers in the car. Franco-Martinez was taken to hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Corp.’s deputy attorney Mimi Ruether told councilor on Monday that just four seconds before it hit Franco-Martinez’s car, the police car was going 101mph, and at the time of the accident, the police car was going 89mph.

Ruether also said that long before the crash, police overseers had ordered officers to halt the pursuit but continued to pursue their pursuit. Franco-Martinez’s lawsuit accused the police of not following the CPD’s vehicle chase laws by ignoring the red light on Ashland Avenue and Irving Park Road without paying attention to other vehicles.

The police car was one of many to track a m*rder suspect during the hour-long, speedy police chase through the city. At one point, the suspect ran into several cars near Irving Park Road after exiting the Kennedy Highway. Then he ran to a gas station on the Irving Park and Pulaski Highways, stole another car, and kept on driving.

Scanner movement reports that the police stopped pursuing at one point, but the pursuit apparently resumed – following the perpetrator who was going at a speed of at least 100mph. Eventually, the driver hit a pole and after a short pedestrian chase, he was arrested miles away 800 blocks West Pershing Road.

The Civil Police Accountability Office initiated an investigation on the day of the crash. According to a COPA spokesman, this investigation is still ongoing.

Ald. Jason Ervin (28th) questioned whether the officer who drove the car could be held financially responsible for damages to be paid to Franco-Martinez’s family, but city attorneys said that because he was operating under his official police duties, the city suffers financial responsibility for the damage caused.

The second multi-million dollar settlement approved unanimously by the Finance Committee is the payment of $ 9.05 million to Patrick Prince, who served 25 years in prison for a m*rder he did not commit before being cleared of the charges in 2017. Prince said he was forced to make a false confession.

According to a lawsuit brought by Prince in the city, retired detective Kriston Kato and other officers repeatedly punched and kicked Prince as well as banged his head against a wall during the 1991 questioning of the m*rder of Edward Porter when Prince was 19 years old. Prince also accused the police of lying to him, claiming he had been identified as the killer in the line, and falsely claimed that they had other evidence against him. According to published reports, Kato was accused of beating dozens of suspects with false testimony.

Prince’s testimony was the only evidence against him at trial, as there was no physical evidence linking him to Porter’s m*rder, and no witness identified him as the shooter, according to his lawsuit. In 2017, a Cook County judge overturned Prince’s conviction and released him from prison, stating that he had proved his innocence in the post-conviction proceedings.

The city’s attorneys estimated that if Prince’s lawsuit went to trial, a jury verdict could result in $ 25 million to $ 50 million in damages against the city.

At Monday’s meeting, councilors also unanimously approved a $ 950,000 settlement for Water Department bricklayer Dilan Abreu, who sued the city in 2019, accusing his boss of years of racist harassment, including trying to shove Abreu into a two-meter hole.

Abreu claimed his supervisor repeatedly called him multiple racist slurs against Latinos from 2015 to 2017, including “stupid f*cking s ***”, “stupid Puerto Rican” and “Spanish-speaking nigger *****”.

Abreu also filed a physical assault complaint against his supervisor in 2016, accusing his boss of trying to shove him into a two-meter hole at his workplace.

The city tried to fire Abreu’s superior, former superintendent of the Water Department Paul Hansen, for his misdemeanor, but he resigned in 2017 before he could be fired, according to city lawyers.

The only settlement that met with opposition from members of the Finance Committee on Monday was a $ 900,000 settlement with Dwane Rowlett, who was shot and killed by police after escaping a traffic jam on New Year’s Day 2017.

Police said officers noticed Rowlett was rushing and driving at a stop sign at around 2:20 near 125th Street and State Street. Police said when officers approached the car and found Rowlett in the driver’s seat, he started fighting as officers tried to stop him, and the officer then shot him twice.

Rowlett’s lawsuit claims that he simply tried to unfasten his seat belt when the police shot him and that he was unarmed and never posed a threat to officers, accusing the police of shooting him without legal justification.

No weapons were found at the scene of the shooting, but city attorneys said two small knives were found in his vehicle, and city attorneys said the officer who shot Rowlett saw him reach for his right side, and after failing to grab Rowlett by the arm, the officer fired nine shots.

City attorneys said Rowlett had suffered eight gunshot wounds and sustained permanent injuries and still needed a cane or wheelchair to move around. His medical bills were over $ 750,000.

According to court records, Rowlett was charged with multiple counts of absconding and later pleaded guilty to one charge and was sentenced to two years in prison earlier this month over his arrest which resulted in him being shot by the police. He is also serving a 25-year sentence for an unrelated 2017 kidnapping charge.

Eight councilors voted against the settlement with Rowlett: George Cardenas (12th), Marty Quinn (13th), Matt O’Shea (19th), Silvana Tabares (23rd), Gilbert Villegas (36th), Nicholas Zawodato (38th). ), Anthony Napolitano (41) and Brendan Reilly (42).

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