Chicago committee approves $31M settlement in wrongful conviction lawsuits
CHICAGO —A City Council committee, on Monday, approved a $31 million settlement for four men wrongly accused of a 1994 rape and murder.
The sum to settle the police-misconduct lawsuits appeared Friday in agenda notes of the City Council’s finance committee.
Known as the “Englewood 4,”Michael Saunders, Vincent Thames, Harold Richardson and Terrill Swift were freed after 2011 tests matched DNA from the victim’s body to another man killed in 2008.
An FBI report unsealed this year accused investigators of pressuring the then-teenagers during the investigation of the 1994 rape and killing of 30-year-old Nina Glover. It cited an ex-prosecutor describing how investigators coached witnesses and manipulated the defendants into giving false confessions.
Chicago’s police union, the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), called the settlement a grab of taxpayer money.
“Their playbook is simple, they claim police misconduct, get prosecutors to exonerate, draft a willing media, and then manipulate the citizens of Chicago out of their tax money,” union lawyer Martin Preib told reporters.
One Chicago aldermen said while he does not support settlements in all lawsuits brought against the city, $31 million is an appropriate amount to make the four plaintiffs whole.
“This one in particular appears to be police misconduct, but far majority of them are police officers doing their jobs and we are settling, which I don’t get. That’s why I don’t support a lot of them,” Thirty-eighth Ward Alderman nick Sposato said.
The City Council nearly always OKs police-misconduct settlements brought to it for approval. R.
—with Associated Press reports