Cops pointed guns at 4-year-old, autistic man during improper raid of Back of the Yards apartment: suit
“I feel like I’ve been violated,” said Sharon Lyons, whose apartment was searched by police.
More than a dozen Chicago Police officers — acting on bad information from an informant — burst into an apartment in the Back of the Yards neighborhood earlier this year and pointed guns at a 4-year-old girl and her autistic uncle, a newly filed lawsuit claims.
“I feel like I’ve been violated,” said Sharon Lyons, whose apartment was searched by police. “I just want justice. And I just want the police department to do a better job at training their officers when they enter peoples’ homes, where they’re comfortable at.”
“I’m securing my house because I don’t feel safe there no more,” Lyons said, noting she’s had difficulty sleeping through the night for the past three and a half months.
A spokeswoman for the city’s Law Department declined to comment on the lawsuit, saying the department had not yet been served.
In the evening hours of Feb. 26, Lyons and several family members were at her home. Everyone inside was under the weather, sick with either a cold or the flu, Lyons’ attorney, Al Hofeld, said at a news conference Thursday. Her 4-year-old granddaughter, Lillie, was visiting from Urbana and was sleeping in Lyons’ bed.
While Lyons — who’s lived in the apartment for eight years and has never been arrested — was in the kitchen talking on the phone with one of her neighbors, she heard a commotion from the apartment beneath hers.
Within moments, Chicago Police officers came through her door with their weapons drawn, ordering everyone to get on the ground. Hofeld said the police never announced their office before coming inside. The warrants they had were to search the first- and second-floor apartments for cocaine and heroin, though no narcotics were found in the building.
Soon after, an officer went into Lyons’ bedroom. Her granddaughter woke up from the noise and was crying and screaming. The officer pointed his gun at Lillie’s chest from a few feet away, Hofeld said.
“Ms. Lyons, needless to say, was completely terrified that Lillie was going to be shot,” Hofeld said.
One of Lyons’ sons, a 30-year-old, has autism and officers pointed their weapons at him, too, Hofeld said.
“He cannot handle stress,” he said. “He became hysterical, and he had no idea what was happening.”
The officers who executed the warrant — which did not name a suspect, only an address — had neglected to perform surveillance of Lyons’ home or conduct undercover narcotics purchases before the search, Hofeld said.