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Judicial CP - February 2004
Daily Southtown, Chicago, 4 February 2004
Harvey police beat teen, family alleges in lawsuit
By Rex Robinson
The mother of a 14-year-old boy on Tuesday sued three Harvey police officers, claiming they beat her son after he got into a fight at school.
Brooks Junior High School officials Thursday turned the teen over to Harvey Police for a fight that happened the day before, but the teen's family was not notified of him being taken into police custody, according to the lawsuit filed in federal court in Chicago.
While at the police station, the teen was allegedly struck and choked by Detective Marcell Hartwell and then beaten repeatedly on the buttocks with a wooden paddle by two other police officers who were not identified in the lawsuit.
Harvey city officials declined to comment until they can review the lawsuit.
"While we cannot address the specifics of this lawsuit ... we are deeply concerned with these allegations," city spokeswoman Sandra Alvarado said in a prepared statement.
"We are investigating the allegations so that we may take the appropriate actions."
The boy, who was not charged with any crime, was then released, the lawsuit states. His mother took him to South Suburban Hospital where he was treated for severe bruises on his buttocks, the boy's attorney Gregory Kulis said.
The lawsuit seeks at least $50,000 in punitive damages.
"I think this is appalling that law enforcement would take a 14-year-old and use such corporal punishment on him," Kulis said.
"What scares me is one officer said to another to 'Get the paddle.' So they know it's kept there, and if they know it's kept there you know it's being used."
NBC5.com, Chicago, 3 February 2004
Three More People Claim Abuse By Harvey Police
Harvey Police Accused Of Beating 14-Year-Old
CHICAGO -- The lawyer for a 14-year-old allegedly beaten by Harvey police has three more clients who say they were also abused by Harvey police. Some accuse the police of handcuffing them to a chair and then hitting them with a paddle.
A lawsuit was filed in federal court Tuesday morning against three Harvey police officers and the city itself, Natalie Martinez reported for NBC5. The incident started with a fight at school, and ended, the woman says, with abuse at a suburban police station. The officers allegedly slapped, choked and beat 14-year-old Derrick Tucker for no good reason, and the teen says he hasn't been able to sit down since the beating.
His mother, Jan Tucker, picked Derrick up from the Harvey police station on Jan. 29, more than an hour after police took him in.
"He was walking funny," she said. "I opened door, he said, 'I can't sit down. They whooped me.'"
The Brooks Junior High School student had a fight with another student after school on Jan. 28, and although no criminal charges were pressed, Harvey police were called to the school the next day and took Tucker into custody. The teen says three police officers ordered him to drop his pants, then beat him across the buttocks with a wooden paddle and choked him.
Attorney Greg Kulis says the incident was a violation of civil rights.
"We're cognizant of kids' rights," he said. "And here's three officers, turning up music, closing the door and beating him."
While Kulis also questions the school's judgment in not contacting the boy's mother immediately after the alleged incident, he places blame squarely on the Harvey Police Department. The lawsuit seeks at least $50,000 in damages, and the family wants the officers released from the force.
Harvey police say their internal affairs division is investigating.
Copyright 2004 by NBC5.com. All rights reserved.
Daily Southtown, Chicago, 8 February 2004
More allegations of paddling surface
By Frank Main
A lawyer suing Harvey police for allegedly paddling a 14-year-old boy is also accusing the city of subjecting a 12-year-old boy and two men to the same punishment.
Attorney Gregory Kulis said he signed the 20-year-old men as clients Thursday.
They came forward after Kulis sued the city in federal court Tuesday, accusing police officers of hitting the 14-year-old South Holland boy with a wooden paddle.
The two men claim they were paddled in the Harvey police station after a traffic stop about three weeks ago, Kulis said.
"Both were handcuffed to chairs; one officer pulled out the paddle and went to town," he said.
In addition to traffic offenses, one of the men was charged with obstructing a police officer because he allegedly swallowed several small plastic bags, Kulis said. Officers apparently thought they contained drugs, he said.
The men were held for about two days before they were released, Kulis said. Both were treated for injuries at Ingalls Memorial Hospital in Harvey, he said.
The 12-year-old boy allegedly was taken from school recently and paddled in the police station, Kulis said. "I am guessing I am just scratching the surface," he said. "This is like the Wild West."
The 14-year-old was allegedly paddled after he was involved in a fight at school. On Jan. 29, the teen was suspended for three days for the fight at Brooks Junior High School, the lawsuit said. School officials told the teen no criminal charges would be filed, Kulis said. But then Harvey police took him and another boy to the police station, where they were both paddled 20 to 30 times, Kulis alleged.
A Harvey detective, two unidentified officers and the city are accused of violating the teen's constitutional rights. The lawsuit seeks more than $40,000 in damages.
Sandra Alvarado, a spokeswoman for Harvey, said police Internal Affairs Division is investigating the 14-year-old's allegations.
School District 152 Supt. Lela Bridges could not be reached for comment.
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