Americans with Disabilities Act Violation: Lawsuit Against Chicago Police

Americans with Disabilities Act laws are in place to establish a clear and comprehensive prohibition of discrimination on the basis of disability. An April 13th article in the Chicago Tribune outlines a longstanding case in which police misconduct allegedly caused further injury to a disabled woman from California.

According to the article,“The lawsuit has two significant parts: claims of negligence alleging that the police knew the victim would likely meet great harm when they released her in a high-crime neighborhood during her mental breakdown in 2006, and claims that police violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by denying her access to needed mental health care while in custody.”

The actions that led to this claim stem from the arrest of the victim for erratic behavior at Midway Airport. Orders to take her to a hospital for a psychiatric evaluation were ignored and officers transported her to the high-crime Wentworth District lockup. Police then allegedly released her the next evening after hours of apparent erratic and psychotic behavior, without any assistance or directions, and several miles from where she had been arrested. It was after this inexplicable release that she “…wandered aimlessly toward a high-rise of the Robert Taylor Homes, where she was sexually assaulted before plunging from a seventh-floor window. She suffered a severe brain injury, a shattered pelvis, collapsed lung and numerous other injuries.”

The case has been in a legal purgatory for years now, but the victim’s lawyers have recently asked a federal judge to remove the current two-year delay in her parents’ lawsuit against the Chicago Police Department.

This tragic and disturbing case certainly outlines the need for protection against police misconduct. More specific to this case, The Americans with Disabilities Act information page on the U.S. Department of Justice website (http://www.ada.gov/cguide.htm) states that to be protected by the ADA, one must have:

“…a disability or have a relationship or association with an individual with a disability. An individual with a disability is defined by the ADA as a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a person who has a history or record of such an impairment, or a person who is perceived by others as having such an impairment. The ADA does not specifically name all of the impairments that are covered.”

This combination of alarming alleged police misconduct and violations against the Americans with Disabilities Act is sadly not an isolated occurrence. Police misconduct can include excessive physical force, physical assault, verbal abuse, violent threats, false arrests, sexual abuse or assault, intimidation, racial profiling, or other kinds of discrimination by police officers, prison guards, and law enforcement officers or officials.

The psychological and emotional trauma that can stem from police misconduct can be severe, especially as law enforcement officers are entrusted with protecting people, not violating or abusing them. Violence caused by police misconduct can lead to serious personal injury, as in this Chicago case, or even wrongful death.

If you or a loved one has been a victim of police brutality in the state of Illinois, request a Free Police Brutality and Civil Rights Violations Case Evaluation.

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