Friday, March 4, 2011

$3 Million Settlement for Shooting Unarmed Bystander in the Face

In 2003, Chicago police officer Alvin Weems was late for work. He was not in uniform and did not have his utility bag or belt as he was walking through a Chicago transit station. Nevertheless, he attempted to stop a fight. The incident ended with him shooting an innocent bystander, 23 year old Michael Pleasance, in the face, killing him. Not realizing CTA video caught the shooting, Officer Weems lied in his report about Mr. Pleasance's involvement in the fight.

A $12.5 million dollar verdict was overturned by the Illinois Court of Appeals based on the repeated and supposedly prejudicial use of the term "willful and wanton" to describe the officer's conduct, according to Fox News Chicago. This is puzzling given that excessive force cases typically involve intentional conduct or willful and wanton disregard for safety. In any event, subsequent to the Appeals decision, Chicago has agreed to settle the suit, brought by the victim's family, for $3 million.

The entire incident was caught on video [graphic]:

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