City expected to settle case of cop who shot and killed unarmed man lying on ground in fetal position
BY FRAN SPIELMAN City Hall Reporter /firstname.lastname@example.org February 8, 2013 4:03PM
City Council members listens as Mayor Rahm Emanuel presented 2013 Budget to City Council, Wednesday, October 10, 2012 . | John H. White~Sun-Times
Updated: March 10, 2013 6:47AM
One month after shelling out $33 million to settle two high-profile cases of police misconduct, Chicago taxpayers are on the hook for another $4.1 million.
This time, the settlement will go to the family of Flint Farmer, an unarmed, 29-year-old man fatally shot by a Chicago Police officer in June, 2011 while lying on the ground in a fetal position.
Chicago Police officer Gildardo Sierra had been drinking before reporting for work, but the Police Department waited more than five hours after the shooting to test him for alcohol.
“The drinking was something we discovered at a later point in time. That played into the settlement, but I don’t think that was a major reason for the value,” Steven Muslin, an attorney representing the Farmer family, said Friday.
“It was the actions of the officer in depriving him of his constitutional rights and his life. Police allegedly shot a young man when he was laying in the fetal position after the police had been called to respond to a domestic battery. Mr. Farmer was unarmed at all times.”
After being confronted about beating his girlfriend and her three-year-old daughter, Farmer allegedly ran across the street, put his hands in his pockets and pulled out a dark object that turned out to be a cell phone.
Police shot Farmer in the abdomen and thigh. Sierra was subsequently captured on a squad car video walking up to Farmer while he was lying on the ground and firing the last three shots that killed Farmer at point-blank range.
The $4.1 million settlement is on the agenda for Monday’s meeting of the City Council’s Finance Committee. The full Council is expected to sign off on it two days later.
Last month, Chicago aldermen agreed to shell out nearly $33 million to settle two egregious cases of police misconduct.
The largest of the two settlements — $22.5 million — went to Christina Eilman, a mentally-ill California woman who was arrested at Midway Airport in 2006, held overnight in a South Side lock-up, then released in a high crime neighborhood, where she was kidnapped and sexually assaulted before falling or being pushed from the 7th floor window of CHA high-rise.
The remaining $10.25 million was awarded to Alton Logan, who spent 26 years in prison for a murder he did not commit because of an alleged cover-up engineered by now-convicted former Area 2 Commander Jon Burge.
The city is insured only against catastrophic claims exceeding $15 million. The uninsured portion of the two settlements will eat up all but $2 million of the $27.3 million that Mayor Rahm Emanuel set aside to settle judgments and claims against the city for all of 2013.
The city plans to borrow money to pay excess claims, just as it did to pay nearly $80 million owed to black candidates bypassed by the city’s discriminatory handling of a 1995 firefighters entrance exam.
At the time, aldermen were told that three more cases in settlement talks could result in multi-million dollar pay-outs.
“We’re gonna continue to have ugly cases, but we’ll just have fewer of them,” said Corporation Counsel Stephen Patton, referring to a backlog of unresolved police misconduct cases left behind by former Mayor Richard M. Daley.