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Chicago Aldermen OK $6.5 Million Payments over 2 Deaths in Police Custody

HeadlineApr 12, 2016

In Chicago, aldermen have approved nearly $6.5 million to settle lawsuits involving Chicago police and the deaths of two African-American men. The largest settlement goes to the family of Philip Coleman, who died in 2012 after being repeatedly tased and dragged from his cell. Coleman had reportedly suffered a mental health crisis; when his parents pleaded with officers to take him to a hospital instead of jail, a sergeant allegedly told them, “We don’t do hospitals, We do jail.” The second settlement goes to the family of Justin Cook, who in 2014 was stopped for a traffic violation, suffered an asthma attack and died after Chicago police refused to give him his inhaler. Witnesses said officers taunted Cook and sprayed the inhaler into the air. During a debate Monday, Chicago Alderman Anthony Beale said officers involved in the two cases should no longer be on the force.

Alderman Anthony Beale: “They need to be fired. Here we are, paying out millions of dollars in settlements, and nobody’s being terminated.”

Chicago has spent more than a half-billion dollars settling police cases since 2004, despite punishing few officers.

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