Council members nix settlement with Lenora Bond, mother of Terrence Harris

City council members have been harshly criticized for signing a $5 million settlement with the Laquan McDonald family – even before a lawsuit was filed – without asking tough enough questions or seeing the video of incendiary fire.

The finance committee and city council voted for the bylaw in April 2015. And council members have spent the past six years challenging every police misconduct bylaw presented to them during in-camera briefings. closed and public meetings.

On Monday, the scrutiny came to a head.

For the first time in recent memory, the Legal Department’s proposal to settle a police misconduct case was defeated by the Finance Committee by a vote of 13 to 13. Ties are recorded as “no votes”.

The $125,000 settlement was reportedly paid to Lenora Bonds, whose son Terrence Harris, 40, was shot dead by three Chicago Police Department officers in 2013.

Bonds had called 911 to report that her son was threatening her with two kitchen knives.

Among the first officers to respond to the scene – a sergeant who had undergone crisis intervention training (CIT) – was stabbed in the face, according to the company’s assistant attorney, Victoria Benson.

Three other officers – none with CIT training – arrived in response to the stabbings. At the time, Harris was in the basement, holding two knives. He refused the order to drop the weapons and turned on the gas, apparently trying to blow up the house, Benson said.

When Harris “suddenly rushed in the direction of two of the officers”, all three fired. Harris was hit on 29 of their 32 shots.

An expired statute of limitations barred the mother from alleging excessive force. His lawsuit – with an initial request of $3 million – was based on an allegation that the shooting could have been avoided if the CPD had had more extensive crisis response training at the time.

“Part of the problem that we will see here is that when the shooting happened and when these three officers came into the house, the caller who called 911 was out. So the question will be, was it necessary for them to do so at that time, given that the individual who called the police was out of the house? Benson said.

Aldus. George Cardenas (12th) did not believe the argument.

“Tell me if I understood correctly. She called for help. The police arrived. They did the best they could. And now she is pressing charges?” Cardenas said in disbelief.

“Couldn’t we be sued for not responding in the first place – even if we’re not properly CIT trained?”

Benson replied, “She goes on, arguing that the city’s CIT program at the time was insufficient and inadequate so that, had it been better, perhaps filming would not have taken place.” … This is a house where the Chicago police had, in fact, been [to] twice before this event occurs. Whether or not CIT-trained officers should be sent must be considered.

Aldus. Silvana Tabares (23rd) sided with Cardenas.

“There was an officer from the CIT. He was stabbed in the face. This is a justified but unfortunate situation. The regulation sends the wrong message to police officers when they have to make these split-second decisions,” Tabares said of the shooting. The Independent Police Review Authority found it warranted.

Aldus. Michele Smith (43rd) voted for the settlement, although she agreed with many of the arguments made by her colleagues leading the vote against. This vote means that the case will go to trial.

“When officers are threatened, they are allowed to shoot until the threat is gone. And on the other hand, a distraught mother whose son is completely out of control and wants to be protected, I guess doesn’t expect her son to end up dead and, perhaps, didn’t expect his son stabs a police officer,” Smith said.

“That’s where people start on both sides. But as city trustees, frankly, it’s a very cold reality to say that our job is to protect the city’s financial resources and, at the same time, try to do whatever we can for ourselves make sure that tragic events like this don’t happen. That’s why I support the settlement.

The largest of the four settlements on the Finance Committee’s agenda – for $14 million – was approved unanimously, without a word of debate.

It will be split evenly between Corey Batchelor and Kevin Bailey, who as teenagers confessed to a murder they did not commit after being interrogated for hours and severely beaten by detectives trained by the police commander. of disgraced Chicago. Jon Burge.

The committee also voted 15-13 to agree to a $425,000 settlement for Dejaun Harris, who was shot and injured by police in 2016 after fleeing a vehicle stopped for stealing license plates.

The second time was the charm – barely – of this settlement, which was held in committee last fall after the aldermen questioned the credibility of the accused.

Still, Cardenas called Dejaun Harris a ‘bad guy’ who ‘shouldn’t get anything’.

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