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Aldermen mull $250,000 payout in suit against No. 2 CPD official

CPD First Deputy Supt. Kevin Navarro, who is retiring, may not mind miss his early-morning phone calls from the mayor. Here, he talks to reporters on a December afternoon outside a house where four people were found shot to death. | Sun-Times file photo / Sam Charles

Chicago taxpayers will spend $250,000 to compensate a drag-racing motorcycle driver injured in a 2011 collision with a police vehicle driven by First Deputy Police Superintendent Kevin Navarro.

The settlement to Carlos Russian is on the agenda for Tuesday’s meeting of the City Council’s Finance Committee, along with a $370,000 payout involving a lawsuit that a city worker brought against the Chicago Police Department over a prostitution arrest.

Navarro, the No. 2 police official, is in line to take over when police Supt. Eddie Johnson undergoes an expected kidney transplant later this year. He was a captain in the South Chicago District when the accident occurred about 2 a.m. on Aug. 30, 2011.

Navarro received a call from a dispatcher to investigate drag racing on South Chicago Avenue near 85th Street.

Navarro, who was driving a Chevy Tahoe in a northbound lane of South Chicago, said he heard engines revving about three-quarters of a mile away, according to his 2013 deposition. He also said he saw 10 to 20 people gathered on the west side of the street and headlights of two motorcycles parked about 200 feet away in the southbound lanes.

Then-Chicago Police Capt. Kevin Navarro’s SUV after a 2011 accident with a motorcycle rider.
Then-Chicago Police Capt. Kevin Navarro’s SUV after a 2011 accident with a motorcycle rider.

Navarro said he crossed the double yellow lines and drove into the southbound curbside lane to talk to the people gathered along the curb.

“I didn’t think they would drag race right at me,” he said in his deposition.

He said his SUV was slowing down from about 20 to 30 mph when the collision occurred.

Russian, a bartender, was driving a Suzuki GSX-R 750. He and another motorcycle were traveling “fast” toward the SUV, Navarro said.

Russian crashed into the front end of the SUV, whose emergency lights weren’t turned on, and he was catapulted about 30 feet, according to the lawsuit, which didn’t specify his injuries. Navarro said the air bags went off in his SUV and he suffered a concussion. His in-car video camera captured the incident.

The lawsuit accused Navarro of being careless when he crossed the median and positioned his SUV in front of Russian’s oncoming motorcycle, creating a “roadblock.” Navarro also was accused of being improperly trained.

The city has denied allegations that Navarro violated Russian’s civil rights.

Also Tuesday, the Finance Committee is expected to sign off on a $370,000 settlement with Hugo Holmes, a former field service supervisor for the Chicago Department of Transportation. His lawsuit against the police department claimed he was the victim of a false arrest after getting caught up in a prostitution sting.

At 8:30 a.m. on April 25, 2008, Holmes stopped at the corner of 47th and Washtenaw. According to Holmes, undercover officer Michelle Acosta was posing as a prostitute and approached his pickup truck when she said, “$20 for a b—job?”

Holmes said he ignored the solicitation with disgust and a dismissive gesture, telling her, “I’m working.” Acosta told a different story. She claimed Holmes offered $20 in exchange for “h—d” and to “lick her t—y.”

Acosta signaled to her undercover partners, who “swiftly accelerated” out of a nearby alley into Holmes’ path. They arrested him and searched him and his truck.

Prosecutors dismissed the case against Holmes, but not before he was subjected to “great embarrassment, public humiliation and hate mail that ultimately led to his suspension,” his lawsuit said. Holmes said he suffered from shingles brought on by the stress of the case.

In a separate investigation, the city’s inspector general concluded the 2008 prostitution allegations against Holmes should not be sustained. In 2005, though, Holmes was given a 29-day suspension after an earlier inspector general’s investigation found he had lewd photos on his Department of Transportation computer.