A McHenry man is suing the city of North Chicago, alleging he was assaulted by one of its police officers during a July 2010 arrest. Attorneys for Paul Smith, 42, filed a lawsuit Monday in U.S. District Court, Chicago, alleging excessive force by Officer Emir King and negligence by the city, which they say ignored warnings of a pattern of rogue policing.
The case hinges on a July 5, 2010 booking room incident after Smith was arrested for public drunkenness. A police surveillance video showing King punch Smith in the back of the head then
grab, drag and slam him into a booking room wall. The video was widely publicized last December after it was obtained by Ralph Peterson, cousin of Darrin “Dagwood” Hanna, who died a week after his Nov. 6 arrest by six North Chicago officers. That death, caused in part, according to autopsy
findings, by the use of a Taser and physical restraint, provoked a public outcry.
Peterson and Hanna’s family continue to bring forward evidence of alleged police brutality and misconduct, resulting in the firing of two police officers and the disciplining of others. King was suspended for two weeks without pay in February, ordered to take anger management classes and sign a “last chance” agreement after the Smith incident was investigated by interim Police Chief James Jackson.
According to a police report, Smith was taken into custody after King found him lying on a sidewalk, drunk and incoherent. King claimed Smith grabbed a rail in the booking room, refused to let go and swore at him. Smith said that, at the time of the arrest, he was taking psychotropic medication. The supervising officer who reviewed the video, Sgt. Sal Cecala, who was also shown on camera mopping up blood after the incident, determined the use of force was “necessary.”
According to attorney Muriel Collison, Smith suffered a broken nose which did not heal properly and is in need of the services of a plastic surgeon. She said Smith also suffers from recurring headaches.
The complaint, which seeks an unspecified amount in damages, alleges King displayed “unnecessary and excessive use of force” unjustified by any of Smith’s actions. North Chicago City Attorney Chuck Smith said the suit has been referred to the city’s defense counsel.
“We attempted to settle it, but we couldn’t agree on a number,” Smith said. “They’re seeking more compensation than I thought the case merited.” “What happened to Mr. Smith is so serious we wanted a jury to see the video and decide what the award should be,” Collison said.
Chicago-based Collison & O’Connor has represented 12 victims of alleged excessive force by members of the North Chicago Police Department. Four of those cases have been resolved,
resulting in several monetary settlements.
In: Regional News
Tags: lawsuit, excessive force, brutality, cop, police, jail, caught on tape, raw video
Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States (load item map)
Marked as: approved
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