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LOCAL News :: Crime & Police

BREAKING: City Approves $16.5M for Police Abuse Suit

Minutes ago the Chicago City Council approved a payment of $16.5 million to half a million people imprisoned overnight by Chicago police from March 1999 thru March of this year.
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BREAKING: City Approves $16.5M Police Abuse Suit

While the most heavily compensated plaintiffs will be those whose rights were most severely violated, many hundreds of thousands who were held overnight in police lockups should also be compensated.

This would presumably include the 500+ of us who were illegally arrested by Chicago police at the start of the U.S. invasion of Iraq on March 20, 2003, and were transported to 5555 W. Grand Avenue or 727 E. 111th for a wonderful evening (or more) with Chicago's finest.

Information about how to apply for compensation from a claims administrator should be available in June, and I will post that information to this site.

For those not familiar with the issues, I strongly recommend reading the opening few pages of the lawsuit which is attached below.

Here is the press release just issued by Loevy and Loevy Attorneys at Law (where I am employed) regarding the City Council's action:

Chicago Settles Police Abuse Suit for $16.5 M
Major Reforms Implemented at CPD

A class action lawsuit alleging an "inhumane and unlawful system for detaining persons" by Chicago police was settled by the Chicago City Council today for $16.5 million. The payment is one of the largest in Chicago history for a civil rights case.

The suit, Thomas Dunn, et al v. Chicago brought by the civil rights firm Loevy & Loevy Attorneys at Law, covers approximately one-half million people who were arrested and held at least overnight by Chicago police from March 1999 thru March of this year.

The suit alleged that "the CPD has engaged, for decades, in a repeated pattern of detaining citizens incommunicado within its police departments, holding them for unconstitutional lengths of time . . . [and amounted to an] institutionalized system of police torture in Chicago." Attorneys at Loevy and Loevy charged that the inhumane conditions were used as a means to obtain false confessions from suspects while genuine perpetrators were free to continue committing crimes.

The suit has three classes of plaintiffs. One class consists of several thousand people who were held in interrogation rooms for 16 or more hours, often shackled to a wall, with no officers responsible for making sure the suspects had access to food, water or restroom facilities.

A second group of approximately 14,000 people were arrested without warrants on suspicion of felonies and held more than 48 hours without seeing a judge. The suit alleged that "the Department routinely flouts this requirement for prompt judicial review by keeping citizens secreted inside its police departments while it attempts to develop grounds that would ‘justify’ detaining them after the fact."

A third group of approximately half a million people was held continuously from at least 10 pm to 6 am in cold jail cells without access to mattresses or bedding, amounting to intentional sleep deprivation. Each class is entitled to different payments, and persons qualifying for more than one class are entitled to multiple payments.

As a result of the lawsuit, the Chicago Police Department has implemented reforms including limitations on the length of detentions, requirements for the provision of food and bedding, and prohibitions on the routine use of shackling in the interview rooms.

Loevy and Loevy ( is the largest civil rights law firm in Chicago and one of the largest in the country as a whole.



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