Chicago taxpayers will spend $9.5 million to compensate a man who can barely move and cannot talk after hitting his head on the pavement while being jolted by a police Taser.
The incident occurred in July 2011, while Jose Lopez was being treated for chest pains by Chicago Fire Department paramedics.
Chicago Police officers called to assist paramedics in Little Village claim that Lopez refused treatment and became combative.
When one of the officers used a Taser to subdue the patient, Lopez fell backward and hit his head on the pavement.
The fall left Lopez unable to speak and barely able to move, according to his attorneys.
The veteran police officer who used the Taser has insisted that he followed Chicago Police procedures governing Taser use in an attempt to subdue a “combative” individual.
The officer has pointed to court records that show tests found that Lopez was under the influence of PCP.
A jury disagreed. After a two-week trial, the jury found that the officer had used excessive force, even though he did not intend to cause serious injury to Lopez.
The latest in a parade of costly settlements stemming from alleged police wrongdoing is expected to be approved by the City Council’s Finance Committee on Tuesday and the full Council on Wednesday.
Earlier this week, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan filed a lawsuit seeking federal court oversight over the Chicago Police Department.
After months of resistance, Mayor Rahm Emanuel was finally on board and vowed to negotiate with Madigan to finalize a consent decree with rigid timetables and financial commitments toward police reform.
Madigan’s lawsuit specifically mentions that Chicago taxpayers have spent more than $600 million since 2004 on settlements and legal fees stemming from police wrongdoing.