Chicago Police Sued : Top News Stories at Officer.com
Chicago Police defended their actions after a lawyer Wednesday released a surveillance video showing stun grenades exploding and SWAT officers pointing assault weapons at people kneeling in a hallway.
"It looked to me like the Chicago Police Department is engaging in military-type activity," said attorney George Becker after filing a $10 million federal lawsuit against the city, adding that his clients thought they were being robbed.
The lawsuit accuses police of searching a Logan Square social club at 2514 W. Fullerton on May 30 without showing a warrant. The officers raided the building during a birthday party for a woman, Becker said.
The lawsuit says police stole up to $1,500 from amusement devices and $1,000 from a safe they broke open. Becker said police have not provided an inventory for any seized cash.
Also, five women said they were humiliated during strip-searches by a female officer in front of male officers and male patrons of the club, called La Familia Motorcycles, Becker said.
The video does not show women being strip-searched -- or officers breaking open amusement devices and a safe. Becker said he thinks that activity was not on the video because officers pointed surveillance cameras toward the ceiling.
But police defended the search as proper.
"We believe the officers acted within department guidelines in executing the legal search warrant," Police Department spokeswoman Monique Bond said.
An informant told police a shipment of drugs was destined for the building, but only a small quantity of drugs was seized along with a 9mm gun, police said.
Two people were arrested -- one on a bond forfeiture warrant and one on a reckless conduct charge, Bond said.
No one has filed a complaint with the Independent Police Review Authority about the raid, Bond said. "The matter will be investigated," she said.
Police said they suspected the building was a stronghold for the Maniac Latin Disciples street gang.
The black-clad SWAT officers were responsible for securing the building before Jefferson Park District tactical officers conducted a search for guns and drugs, police said.
A few of the plaintiffs have been in prison, Becker acknowledged, adding that he did not know if any are gang members.
The city, meanwhile, has ordered La Familia Motorcycles to stop providing food, selling liquor and charging admission for music.