On February 3, news emerged that the city of Chicago, now run by former Obama right-hand man Rahm Emanuel, is issuing $900 million in bonds, $100 million of which is going directly to pay off plaintiffs of lawsuits against the city.
The city is attempting to issue the $900 million in bonds to lower some of its borrowing costs and to double its short-term credit line to $1 billion. But fully $100 million of that debt burden is going to pay off lawsuits, much of it to plaintiffs who won judgments against the city in police brutality cases.
As the Chicago Tribune reported, “the city would take on between $90 million and $100 million in debt to pay off legal settlements made last year. The bulk of those settlements were made in connection with police misconduct cases.”
Only days ago, the Chicago police were embroiled in a controversy surrounding a released video that seemed to show officers strip-searching suspects right on the streets.
Several years ago, the CPD was rocked by a high profile case that eventually found Police Commander Jon Burge and his “Midnight Crew” of officers guilty of torture aimed at forcing suspects to confess to various crimes, whether they were guilty or not.
Mayor Emanuel has agreed to several multi-million dollar settlements over cases involving the Burge issue. By accepting the settlements, Emanuel helped shield former Chicago Mayor Richard Daley from being forced to testify of what details he knew–and when–about allegations of Burge’s brutality.
Last October, Alderman Howard Brookins (21st Ward) introduced an ordinance to create a $20 million fund to compensate victims of police abuse.