The Chicago City Council approved a $4.5 million settlement with the family of an unarmed woman who was shot by an off-duty police officer (ABC News).
On March 21, 2012, off-duty Chicago police officer Dante Servin responded to a disturbance call in Chicago’s Douglas Park. Servin exchanged words with Antonio Cross. Servin, who was in his car, saw Cross pull out his cell phone and thought it was a gun. Servin then fired five shots over his shoulder, hitting an innocent bystander, 22-year-old Rekia Boyd in the head. She died the next day at Mount Sinai Hospital. Her family filed a lawsuit alleging police misconduct.
The officer, Servin, is on administrative leave from the Chicago Police Department and has not been criminally charged.
Only a small measure of justice has been obtained for the family with this settlement. Criminal charges would force all of the facts into the open and possibly deter similar behavior by police officers, whose duty is to protect the public and not endanger the lives of people by using excessive force or acting carelessly.
Attorney Eric Hageman represents clients in police misconduct cases, although not this one. He has been part of litigation teams that won millions for clients:
Ngo v. Storlie
U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota (2007)
Total Settlement: $4.5 Million
Eric was part of the litigation team in this high-profile civil rights/police misconduct case, representing a plain-clothes police officer who was shot by a fellow police officer who mistook him for a suspect. The case was litigated for over four years before settling shortly before trial was scheduled to begin.
Balandin v. Eagle
U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota (2003)
Total Settlement: $3.05 Million
Eric was part of the litigation team in this police shooting case, which left the plaintiff paralyzed.