Chicago Will Pay $20 Million in Police Misconduct Case

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The city of Chicago agreed to pay $20 million to settle a lawsuit brought by the families of two young men killed in a fiery drunken driving crash caused by an off-duty police detective, the Chicago Tribune reports. The agreement to pay $10 million each to relatives of Andrew Cazares and Fausto Manzera was reached in dramatic fashion this month after it was revealed that key documents involving an alcohol-fueled bar fight in detective Joseph Frugoli’s past had been improperly withheld. If approved by the City Council, it would mark yet another massive payout for the city in a police misconduct suit. In the past two months alone, nearly $100 million in judgments have been assessed against the city for police-related cases, including a record $44.7 million jury verdict in October for a man who was shot by his childhood friend, a police officer, in an off-duty incident. This month, the council approved a $31 million payout for the “Englewood Four,” who each spent some 15 years in prison for a 1994 rape and murder before DNA linked the crime to a convicted killer.

While the settlement would end the lawsuit, the city may still face consequences for withholding the key documents. After the bombshell report on Frugoli’s 1992 bar fight surfaced in the midst of the trial, lawyers for the victims’ families asked U.S. District Judge Virginia Kendall to sanction the city for failing to comply with the routine exchange of evidence known as discovery. The city has been sanctioned by judges eight times for failing to turn over records in a police misconduct case since Rahm Emanuel became mayor in 2011. Discovery-related penalties have cost the city more than $1 million over the past six years. The city has also been ordered to pay millions of dollars in plaintiffs’ attorneys fees.

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