CHICAGO, Illinois — On August 22, 2011, partner Hugh C. O’Donnell and firm associate Martha-Victoria Díaz won a Not Liable jury verdict on 54 counts, on behalf of the City of Chicago and six police officers in a Section 1983 civil rights case in federal court. The trial took place before the Northern District of Illinois Judge Blanche Manning.
The Plaintiffs Lakisha Mitchell, Mecole Mitchell and Linda Jefferson, alleged that the Defendants violated their civil rights through false arrest, excessive force and malicious prosecution. This case arose from an incident in September of 2007, where a call to 9-1-1 was made, regarding relatives fighting with guns and knives in the Chicago Lawn neighborhood. The six defendants were among the many Chicago police officers who responded. The police arrived at the scene to find a near-riot where there were crowds converged, posing a danger to the public and themselves. The defendant officers went into the melee to restore public order. In so doing, they arrested Plaintiffs, who were combatants at the scene. The Plaintiffs alleged the arrests were unjustified and a violation of their Constitutional rights. They also alleged physical and emotional injuries. The jury returned their verdict in favor of the Defendants in less than two hours.
This verdict represents the fourth trial the firm has undertaken for the City of Chicago Civil Rights Litigation Division under a new policy to take police Section 1983 cases to trial rather than routinely settling the cases. Thus far, the firm has won three of four of the jury trials.