Another $500,000 settlement tied to allegations of police abuse

The City Council’s Finance Committee will be asked to sign off on the settlement for Andy Jardinas, who claims he was physically abused by Police Officers Rodrigo Corona and Manuel Arroyo after an arrest in November 2016.

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Andy Jardinas said he suffered severe head injuries as a result of the alleged abuse by two officers.

Getty file photo

Throw another $500,000 on the mountain of costly settlements tied to allegations of Chicago Police abuse.

On Monday, the City Council’s Finance Committee will be asked to sign off on the settlement for Andy Jardinas, who claims he was physically abused by Police Officers Rodrigo Corona and Manuel Arroyo after an arrest in November 2016.

Arroyo and Corona arrested Jardinas in the 3600 block of South Hoyne during the early morning hours of Nov.5, 2016, records show. He was charged with criminal damage to property and assault.

In his lawsuit, Jardinas alleged he was brought to the Deering District station at 31st and Halsted and placed in a processing cell alone with his handcuffs still on.

“Not long after Plaintiff was placed in a cell, Defendant Corona returned to the cell, unlocked the door and violently and intentionally used both of his hands to shove Plaintiff” while he was still handcuffed, the suit alleged.

Jardinas said he suffered severe head injuries as a result of the alleged abuse and that the shove was captured on the station’s security cameras.

“The amount of force used by Defendant Corona caused Plaintiff to fall backwards and strike his head on the hard cell floor, ultimately causing a subdural hematoma and a brain bleed,” the lawsuit states.

Jardinas further claimed that, prior to the shove, Corona had an “extensive history of violent and disturbing behavior against civilians within the City of Chicago.”

“Upon information and belief, Defendant Corona, while on duty as a Chicago Police officer, has been involved in at least three separate incidents where three individuals died during either his pursuit, arrest, restraint and/or detention of them,” Jardinas alleged.

One of those deaths, Jardinas said, was that of Heriberto Godinez.

Last month, the City Council authorized a settlement to the family of Godinez, who died in police custody in July 2015. Godinez had been arrested while burglarizing a Brighton Park garage. While the medical examiner’s office found evidence of cocaine and ethanol toxicity in Godinez’s system, “physical stress associated with restraint” was a “significant contributing factor” to his death.

First Deputy Corporation Counsel Renai Rodney told aldermen in December that the Godinez family’s original demand was for $7 million and the case was unwinnable because one of the officers had his foot on Godinez’s upper body for 90 seconds.

None of that had been enough to persuade Ald. Ray Lopez (15th) to go along with the settlement two days after his opposition helped stall it in committee.

Lopez, who represents gang-plagued Brighton Park, Back of the Yards and parts of Englewood, cast one of four “no” votes. The others were cast by Aldermen Marty Quinn (13th), Matt O’Shea (19th) and Brendan Reilly (42nd).

“It is disgusting to me as an alderman. It is disgusting to me as a member of the Brighton Park community — and more so as a [resident of] the city of Chicago that we would even consider paying a family that has so terrorized the neighborhood a single dollar — let alone $1.2 million.”

In Jardinas’ case, the Civilian Office of Police Accountabilty did not sustain his allegations of excessive force. However, they noted, while Jardinas was in the cell handcuffed, he was able to contort himself so that his arms were in front of him. After that, he started banging on the cell window and cracked it. That’s when Corona came over and shoved him.

The Jardinas settlement is the largest of three new police-related settlements on Monday’s Finance Committee agenda. The others are:

• A $300,000 settlement in the case of a police officer who claims she had sex with a boss who threatened to torpedo her career if she refused his advances.

• And a $150,000 settlement to Travon and Treonia Garner, who claimed they were subject to excessive force and unlawful seizure during an unjustified traffic stop.

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