City council’s finance committee to weigh more than $16 million in settlements in police misconduct lawsuit

CHICAGO (SCS) — Aldermen are set to consider more than $16 million in payments to settle two other lawsuits accusing police of misconduct, including a massive payout to settle a wrongful conviction case that has already cost more than $13 million. dollars to Chicago taxpayers.

The city council’s finance committee is due to vote Thursday on a proposed $14.25 million settlement with Daniel Taylor, who sued the city and several police officers in 2014, a year after he was cleared of a 1992 double murder. .

Taylor was released from prison in 2013, after spend 20 years behind bars for the November 1992 murders of Sharon Haugabook and Jeffrey Lassiter in an Uptown apartment.

Taylor, now 46, claimed police beat him to confess to the crime and suppressed evidence proving his innocence. His lawsuit also accused the police of coercing others to implicate him in the killings.

Police and prosecutors said at the time of the murders that Taylor and seven other young men were responsible, and Taylor confessed during police questioning, but Taylor later said the confession was coerced.

According to his trial, after discovering that Taylor could not have committed the murders because he was in police custody for disorderly conduct at the time they were committed, police “fabricated evidence” against him. That evidence included, according to the lawsuit, falsifying a police report to include a meeting between Taylor and police outside a victim’s apartment on the night of the murders at a time when they already knew he was in custody. on sight.

“Despite this proof of the plaintiff’s innocence, the defendant officers charged the plaintiff with murder rather than searching for the real killer,” the lawsuit reads.

In Taylor’s lawsuit, his lawyers allege that in their effort to frame Taylor, police withheld information from prosecutors that allegedly raised serious doubts about his guilt, including the existence of a man who told investigators that he and Taylor were in jail at the time of the crime. During the trial, prosecutors argued that police records were not accurate and that Taylor was not in police custody at the time.

The lawsuit also alleges that information that would have helped clear Taylor was kept in secret “street files” that were not shared with defense attorneys or prosecutors.

Taylor was later convicted of first degree murder, armed robbery and home invasion and sentenced to life in prison.

Cook County prosecutors dropped all charges against Taylor in June 2013.

About a month earlier, prosecutors also dropped all charges against Taylor’s co-defendant, Deon Patrick, who was released from prison after 21 years.

A Cook County judge also issued certificates of innocence for both men.

In April 2017, a federal jury awarded $13.3 million in damages to Patrick, who had sued the city, seven Chicago police officers and two Cook County prosecutors for his wrongful conviction.

A federal appeals court later upheld that verdict.

Meanwhile, the finance committee will also consider a proposed $1.898 million settlement on Thursday with Brunilda Torres, whose son, Jose Nieves, was shot by an off-duty Chicago police officer is currently serving a 10-year sentence for second degree murder.

Nieves was shot and killed on January 2, 2017 during a clash in the neighborhood of Hermosa.

Police and prosecutors said Constable Lowell Houser, a transit officer at the time, argued with Nieves and shot him.

Houser, now 62, claimed he pulled the trigger in self-defense after Nieves moved around as if looking for a weapon while the two argued, but Nieves was unarmed and a Cook County judge later. convicted him of second degree murder.

houser later was sentenced to 10 years in prisonand is still being held at Robinson Correctional Center in southern Illinois.