CHICAGO — Chicago taxpayers would pay $525,000 to the family of a 16-year-old autistic boy allegedly chased and clubbed by Chicago Police officers who tried to question him, under a settlement advanced Tuesday by a City Council committee.
The latest in a series of incidents involving allegations of excessive force by Chicago Police occurred around 10 p.m. April 22, 2009.
Oscar Guzman was standing outside his family's restaurant at 3257 W. 26th looking at pigeons when one of two police officers assigned to the 10th District chased the teenager into the restaurant.
At that point, Guzman's parents allegedly yelled that their son was a "special needs child," only to be ignored by the officers.
They allegedly pushed the father out of the way in pursuit of Oscar and struck the teenager in the head with a retractable baton while Oscar had his hands over his head in an attempt to protect himself.
Oscar was taken to the hospital by ambulance for treatment of a 4-centimeter cut to his head that required staples to close.
His family has further alleged that, after they called 911, a sergeant arrived but refused to answer the family's questions.
"Instead, they allege, he grabbed [sister] Nubia Guzman's wrist and began to handcuff her and threaten to arrest her," Finance Committee Chairman Edward M. Burke (14th) told his colleagues Tuesday.
The officers have contended that, while approaching the restaurant, they observed Oscar turn and leave making a movement to his waistband.
The officers claim they pursued Guzman because they believed he had a weapon, that Oscar resisted them and that, when one of the officers drew back his baton to strike the teenager in the arm or shoulder area, Guzman pushed one of the officers in the chest causing Oscar to "inadvertently" be struck in the head.
Deputy Corporation Counsel Leslie Darling said she was "happy" to tell aldermen that the Independent Police Review Authority has sustained the allegations against the two officers and that disciplinary action is now pending before a command panel.