CHICAGO (CBS) – A woman whose 13-month-old son was killed by a motorist during a high-speed police chase in July 2015 will receive a $1.4 million settlement from the city, in a lawsuit alleges police failed to call in pursuit when it posed a significant risk to pedestrians.
Dillan Harris was sitting in a stroller as he and his mother waited at a bus stop near 63rd Street and Ellis Avenue on July 11, 2015, when Antoine Watkins, 21, jumped onto the curb while fleeing police and run over the toddler.
Police began pursuing Watkins after seeing him flee the scene of the shooting about 4 miles away, nearly 77 miles away.order and Kingston.
Dillan’s mother, Shatrell McComb, sued the city, claiming that the officers should have stopped the pursuit long before her son was killed because of the dangers of such a high-speed pursuit.
Corporation Deputy Counsel Mary Ruether told aldermen that the chase reached speeds of up to 87 mph just two blocks from where Dillan was killed.
Ruether said an investigation into the chase determined officers violated a number of policies during the chase, including prohibiting so-called “caravanning” or pursuits involving more than two people. police car. A total of four police cars were involved in the chase, including one, despite regulations prohibiting police cars from participating in any pursuit.
Additionally, an unmarked team vehicle is leading the chase, despite the rule that unmarked vehicles only engage in pursuits until the marked police vehicle has passed. .
The elders unanimously approved the $1.40 deal with McComb.
Watkins is also a defendant in the lawsuit, but Ruether said he doesn’t have the assets to pay any judgment for the damages.
Watkins was charged with first-degree murder in Dillan’s death, but was only found guilty of reckless murder and spent four and nine months in prison before being released in 2020.
Meanwhile, the Finance Committee also approved a $1.2 million settlement with Jomner Orozco Carreto and Carlos Ramirez, after a duty officer shot them in December 2020, and was subsequently charged. aggravated felony in a shooting.
At approximately 10:45 p.m. on December 11, 2020, Officer Kevin Bunge was sitting in a parking lot in the 3300 block of West Irving Park Road when he reported hearing gunshots, police said. He then walked over to Carreto and Ramirez, who were parked behind him, and initially said the men aimed their guns at him first, causing him to open fire, leaving Carreto wounded in the hand. .
However, the only gun investigator found belonged to Bunge, and the video shows the opposite sequence of events to Bunge’s story.
After Bunge gets Charging the battery increases the crime Three months later, his attorneys changed the story slightly, stating that he feared Carreto and Ramirez would rob him after two previous failed attempts to break into the area in the previous weeks.
Carreto and Ramirez’s attorney, Brad Thomson, said Bunge overreacted when a car was parked behind him.
“If you as an individual considers someone parking on the same street you’re parking as a death threat, that indicates a problem of judgment,” Thomson said after Bunge was charged. in March 2021.
Thomson said, if Bunge believes the men are trying to arrest him, “a reasonable response might be to drive away.”
“Getting out of the car and approaching people you think you’re scared of is not rational,” says Thomson.
While Bunge now faces felony charges and has been suspended, Thomson said what matters most is the officer’s duties at the time of the incident, as a lecturer. member of the Chicago Police Academy.
“The fact that this officer is a force instructor for the Police Academy reflects that there is a systemic problem within the Chicago Police Department and the way they train in the use of force,” said Thomson. .
The lawsuit filed against Carreto and Ramirez claims that Carreto was driving at the time of the incident, while Ramirez was in the passenger seat. According to the lawsuit, they were out to meet another friend and were heading west on Irving Park Road.
Ramirez was using his GPS to navigate and provide directions to Carreto, and Carreto got suspicious of the directions the GPS provided and decided to pull over to use the GPS safely.
Carreto pulled over to the curb on Irving Park Road, where the officer involved – identified in the lawsuit as Kevin Bunge – was sitting in a sport utility vehicle that was parked in front of Carreto’s car after he had just finished his shift, the lawsuit alleges. know. .
While Carreto and Ramirez were legally parking on the street trying to get directions, Bunge was wielding a handgun and wearing a police star around his neck, the lawsuit alleges.
The lawsuit goes on to say that Bunge shot them “without reason or justification,” prompting Carreto to slow down, call 911, and go to a nearby store to seek help.
Carreto was shot in the hand and he severely injured two fingers, the lawsuit said. The glass from the broken car window also hit Ramirez in the face, and the noise from the gunshots was so loud that his left ear hurt and lost his hearing.
Aldermen also approved a third settlement of more than $1 million on Thursday related to another case alleging police misconduct, because they agreed to pay $1,675 million to settle a lawsuit by 5 people who were violently assaulted by police at Brickyard Mall during a mass robbery in May 2020, although there is no evidence the group was involved in any criminal activity any.
All three settlements will now be presented to the full City Council for consideration next week.