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Saturday, June 14, 2008

Chicago and police officers lose case and $7.7 million for false arrest

A more detailed story than the one I posted last night and much closer to what I saw on WGN last night:
A trained nurse, Rachelle Jackson immediately ran toward the sound of the crash. A Chicago police car had collided with another vehicle and was starting to smoke, two officers still inside. Fearing an explosion, she quickly pulled one officer from the passenger side.She never imagined her act of kindness nearly six years ago would land her in jail for more than 10 months on charges that she robbed, battered and disarmed a peace officer.

Jackson filed a lawsuit, and on Thursday a federal jury found against the city and several Chicago police officers, awarding Jackson $7.7 million for false arrest,malicious prosecution, coercive questioning and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

"I'm going to go home and lie down for a little bit," an ecstatic Jackson, 41, said after the verdict. "I feel relieved. I'm happy, and I'm thanking God."

The case began in November 2002, when a car ran a stop sign in Jackson's neighborhood, slamming into the squad car. Jackson was walking nearby and rushed to the scene. When she arrived, the officer behind the wheel was unconscious and the passenger, Officer Kelly Brogan, was dazed.

She pulled Brogan from the wreckage and helped her to a nearby stoop. Soon after, police approached Jackson and told her that the driver's weapon had been stolen. When she was asked to go to the police station for questioning, she thought it was as a witness to the accident.

Instead, Jackson was accused of the theft. She was held for two days with little food and water and was threatened with violence until she agreed to sign a statement police had prepared for her. She was then charged and spent more than 10 months in the Cook County Jail awaiting trial.

Her case was later thrown out by a Circuit Court judge. Jackson sued the city, Brogan and the two interrogation officers in 2003.
It seems the Chicago Police as much as I respect and support the work they do, they're having a rough year. It doesn't help if it seems the police has lost a lawsuit to a person who didn't steal a weapon, but who in fact attempted to help them out of a burning police cruiser.

Oh and here's a video version.

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