There is an interesting case out of Chicago where a gang member has reached a settlement with the Chicago Police Department after filing a tort action for intentional infliction of emotional distress and false arrest. The $33,000 settlement followed a controversy over two Chicago police officers — Susana La Casa and Luis Contreras — taking gang member Miguel “Mikey” Castillo into a rival gangs territory and allowing the rival Latin King members to taunt and threaten him. The Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy is now seeking the dismissal of the officers.
It is common to hear complaints from gang members that officers will drop them off in areas controlled by rival gangs. However, on this occasion, the incident was captured on video. Notably, State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez has been condemned nationally for her determined efforts to prosecute citizens who film police in public, including films of abusive police tactics like this incident. Alvarez declined to charge the officers.
The video posted by WBEZ showed the officers standing by with the doors of the SUV open as gang members yelled at Castillo and flashed gang symbols. Worse yet, the officers “made a false oral statement” about the incident to an Internal Affairs detective.
In my view, Castillo was clearly under arrest as being in custody in the vehicle and not free to leave even though he is not cuffed.
I was surprised last week to go walking along the lake on the Northside after my niece’s funeral and seeing new Latin Kings gang signs in the area. Growing up, my friends and I had to avoid gangs including the TJOs, Latin Eagles, and Latin Kings. That declined but Chicago is again struggling with resurgent gangs. WBEZ has compiled an actual map of gang turf: here.