Two men shocked with a stun gun by a Chicago Police officer during a North Lawndale arrest last year have filed a lawsuit against the city.
Eli Cook and Derrick Brandon were with a group heading from one bar to another early Sept. 11, 2015, according to the suit filed Friday in Cook County Circuit Court.
The officer named as a defendant in the suit was on patrol with his partner in the 4200 block of West Cermak, and they stopped the group when they saw Cook with a plastic cup in his hand, according to the police report shared by the Independent Police Review Authority.
The suit claims the officer walked up to Cook and, “without warning,” struck him in the back of the head with a Taser, causing him to hit his head on a sidewalk.
The police report claims Cook ran away across Cermak, tossed a napkin containing marijuana and slipped a bottle of alcohol into his back pocket. Police claimed the officer warned Cook and deployed the Taser when he kept running and “holding his side as if he could be armed,” the report says.
The suit says Brandon and a growing crowd “began to jeer” at the officer for using the stun gun, and the officer then used it on him.
Police said Brandon tried to grab the bottle of alcohol from Cook’s pocket while he was on the ground being arrested, and then ran when the officers tried to arrest him. The officer then shocked him in the back.
Cook was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital to be treated for cuts to his face.
A lieutenant signed two tactical response forms saying the officer’s use of force in shocking both men was in compliance with CPD policy, files show. IPRA’s investigation into the use of force is pending.
A spokesman for the city’s law department said the suit had not yet been served and declined to comment Friday evening.
Cook was charged with misdemeanor counts of resisting arrest and cannabis possession, and he was cited for having alcohol in the public way. Brandon was charged with two misdemeanor counts of resisting arrest. They each pleaded guilty to one count of resisting and were sentenced to four days at the Cook County Jail, according to Cook County Circuit Court records.
The five-count suit claims the officer shouldn’t have used the Taser in a case of drinking on a public sidewalk, and that he failed to warn the men before deploying it. They are seeking more than $250,000 in damages.