CHICAGO (CBS) — More than three years after the city’s police oversight agency ruled officers were not justified when they shot Antwon Golatte during a traffic stop in 2015, the city is on the verge of settling his excessive force lawsuit.
The City Council Finance Committee is scheduled to consider a $525,00 settlement of Golatte’s case during its next meeting on Monday. The settlement also would include forgiving “certain debts owed to the City of Chicago in the amount of $44,808.68,” although further information was not immediately available on what that debt entailed.
Golatte’s attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Golatte filed a federal lawsuit against the city in February 2017, accusing the officers who shot him of using excessive force.
The officers claimed Golatte tried to run them down after he was pulled over in the 300 block of West 115th Street, but the bullet holes in his car were all in the rear, and Golatte was acquitted of aggravated assault charges.
Golatte said he was out running errands at the time when police pulled him over. He claimed the trouble began when backup arrived, and he recognized them as officers who had stopped him two days earlier, dumped his pizza on the ground, and forced him to stand barefoot in the snow while they searched his car.
“Then when I see their faces, I knew who they was. Fear came automatically,” he said at the time he filed his lawsuit in 2017.
Golatte said he called 911, angering the officers, who began swearing and pointing their guns at him. He said he remained calm until one of them smashed the driver’s side window of his car.
According to his lawsuit, the officers then opened fire. Golatte said he still has bullet fragments in his body as a result of the shooting.
Three days after the shooting, the Chicago Police Department revised its use of force policy to prohibit officers from shooting at or into a moving vehicle if no other weapons are displayed.
An investigation by the Independent Police Review Authority – the predecessor agency to the Civilian Office of Police Accountability – concluded the shooting was not justified, and recommended two officers be fired.
However, the Chicago Police Board instead suspended the officers for one year without pay for firing into a moving car that posed no immediate threat, a violation of department policy. The board said the officers never had the authority to make the traffic stop and violated the department’s use of deadly force policy but members stopped short of recommending termination.
At the time of the board’s decision in 2018, Golatte’s attorney, Chris Stewart, said the suspensions were not enough.
“How do these people still have a job? They falsified police reports. Mr. Golatte spent 44 days in prison and over a year on house arrest because they lied. We had to fight in criminal court to get him fully acquitted and that’s not a big deal for the Chicago Police Board?” he said.
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Source: CBS Chicago | News Colony