Chicago aldermen will be asked next week to authorize two more settlements — together totaling $6 million — to compensate victims of alleged police wrongdoing.
The largest of the two settlements bankrolled by beleaguered Chicago taxpayers is for $3.5 million and will go to Patrick Hampton.
Hampton served 20 years of a 60-year sentence for deviant sexual assault, attempted rape, aggravated battery and robbery only to be released after a federal judge granted his petition for habeas corpus.
The conviction stemmed from a notoriously heinous attack on three Hispanic patrons at a December 1981 “Holiday Jam” concert at the International Amphitheater.
While a band was playing onstage, a menacing group of African-Americans marched up the aisle toward the stage pounding their fists together, throwing up gang signs and chanting, “Black Gangster Disciples” and “Third World Disciple Nation.”
The mob physically battered the three victims, stripped them of their clothing, took their wallets and jewelry and sexually assaulted the two women.
Hampton was accused of attacking one of the two Hispanic women and trying to “force a cold, hard object into her vagina.”
He was released after a federal judge found, and an appeals court affirmed, that Hampton was hampered by ineffective assistance of counsel including “failing to investigate and interview exculpatory eyewitnesses” to the crime.
Hampton’s lawsuit against the city accused Chicago Police Officers Michael Duffin and Thomas Ptak of “intentionally concealing exculpatory evidence, including fabricated identification” of Hampton.
Duffin was specifically accused of giving “false and perjurious testimony” to a grand jury.
Ptak was accused of directly fabricating evidence against Hampton and withholding evidence that would have cleared him.
Both detectives were accused of showing one of the victims a Polaroid photograph of Hampton “to get her to identify him” even though she did not “do so on her own.”
The alleged police attempt to frame Hampton, who insisted that he was never a gang member, was revealed when Cook County prosecutors reinterviewed the victims in 2011 while preparing to retry him, Hampton’s lawsuit states.
The second settlement is for $2.5 million and goes to Aretha Simmons and members of her family.
On Aug. 29, 2013, Aretha Simmons has alleged, a number of Chicago police officers executing a search warrant that involved her boyfriend “used excessive force by pointing a gun at three-year-old Davianna Simmons and her grandmother, Emily Simmons.”
Aretha Simmons has also alleged that the officers “unconstitutionally took the property of Aretha, Keith and Emily Simmons.” Aretha Simmons was arrested on the porch of the home where the search warrant was executed. So was her boyfriend.
She was prosecuted and ultimately acquitted. She did not challenge her arrest or prosecution.
In addition to the claims of excessive force and unlawful seizure, the Simmons family members are claiming that the city “had policies of failing to supervise police officers, failing to investigate and discipline officers for misconduct and maintaining a code of silence about officer misconduct.”
“These policies … caused the constitutional violations they suffered,” the lawsuit contends.
In December 2015, Mayor Rahm Emanuel famously acknowledged that there is a code of silence in the Chicago Police Department, in the furor that followed the court-ordered release of the Laquan McDonald shooting video.