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Suit: Homewood residents falsely accused of gang loitering

Two south suburban residents are suing the City of Chicago and two police officers, claiming they were falsely arrested for gang loitering on the South Side.

On May 9, Darvin Tharp and Austin Richard were with a friend who was getting his hair done at Hair Icons at 6451 S. Cottage Grove, according to the lawsuit filed in federal court Thursday.

The two decided to get snacks at a nearby convenience store and were less than a hundred feet away from it when an officer stopped them, demanded their IDs and searched them, the suit claims.

The officer—a sergeant—accused Tharp and Richard of gang loitering and told them to go home. He added he would have them arrested them if he saw them again.

The Homewood residents then went back to the salon to wait inside, claiming they couldn’t immediately go home because they don’t live in the city. The sergeant later walked in, and the friend told him Tharp and Richard had no connection to the area.

But the sergeant called two other officers to the scene, who took the men into custody.

All charges against Tharp and Richard were dropped on June 25, according to the suit.

A spokesman for the city’s Law Department said he could not comment because the lawsuit had not yet been reviewed.

The four-count suit claims malicious prosecution, among other things. Tharp and Richard are seeking punitive damages against the officers and an unspecified amount in compensation for “emotional distress.”