The last-minute addition of three financial settlements in a supplemental agenda distributed at the meeting and some colorful testimony from Council regular George Blakemore livened up an otherwise procedural Finance Committee meeting Monday morning. Two of the settlements regarded controversial events for the Chicago Police Department–the death of Laquan McDonald and the death of David Koschman.
McDonald was shot by Chicago Police 16 times near a fast food restaurant on the southwest side. Police say the 17-year-old was carrying a knife and lunged at police. A spokesman for CPD told the Chicago Tribune the shooting officer has been stripped of his police powers and put on paid desk duty. He will stay on desk duty pending an investigation by the Independent Police Review Authority.
The Committee approved a $5 million settlement to be paid to McDonald’s estate, which is handled by his mother, Tina Hunter. The only questions regarding the settlement were from Ald. Jason Ervin, who asked Corporation Counsel Steve Patton how counsel decided on the $5 million sum. Ald. Margaret Laurino asked for clarification on the department’s taser and dashboard camera policies. Aldermen approved the $5M settlement.
They also approved a $250,000 settlement with the mother of David Koschman. He died in 2004 after being punched by Richard Vanecko, the nephew of former Mayor Richard M. Daley. Koschman’s head hit the pavement after the punch, and he died of his wounds 11 days later. Koschman’s mother Nanci accused the Chicago Police Department, the City of Chicago and members of the Daley family of a cover-up to protect Vanecko. Patton told the Finance Committee that settling the suit would save taxpayers legal costs that could add up whether Koschman succeeded in court or not.
Ald. Scott Waguespack asked about the status of the Inspector General’s report against the officers included in Koschman’s suit. There were 21 officers included in the suit, some who have since left CPD. Patton says he doesn’t know when the IG report will be released. West Side activist Wallace “Gator” Bradley, of United in Peace Incorporated, called the city’s settlement “admirable” for saving taxpayers’ money.
The Committee also voted to reappoint three members of Special Service Areas. On the West Lakeview Commission (27), the Committee voted to reappoint Nabil F. Zahrah, an architect with Zed Architects. On the South Shore/Exchange Commission (49), the Committee voted to reappoint Sarah L. Ware, a broker and owner of the Ware Realty Group. In SSA 50 (Calumet Heights/Avalon), the Committee voted to reappoint Charles A. Cathey, Jr., a State Farm insurance agent.
Start time 10:03 a.m. Attending: Chairman Ed Burke (14), Pat Dowell (3), Will Burns (4), Anthony Beale (9), Marty Quinn (13), Matt O’Shea (19), Ricardo Muñoz (22), Michael Ervin (24), Danny Solis (25), Deborah Graham (29), Scott Waguespack (32), Carrie Austin (34), Rey Colon (35), Margaret Laurino (39), Brendan Reilly (42), Tom Tunney (44).