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Saturday, December 9, 2023
Courthouse News Service
Saturday, December 9, 2023 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Paraplegic Says Chicago Cops Beat Him

CHICAGO (CN) - Two more citizens claim in court that Chicago police abused them: a paraplegic man claims two cops beat him up, and another man claims other officers shot at him without provocation and lied about it at a criminal trial.

Reginald Edwards, a paraplegic who uses an electric wheelchair, sued Chicago and two John Doe police officers in Cook County Court.

Edwards says he bought some food and a cup of coffee at a downtown Chicago Dunkin' Donuts on April 11 and "was simply sitting in his wheelchair," eating the food and drinking the coffee and recharging his electric wheelchair.

"(P)rior to 11:30 p.m., the Dunkin' Donuts store clerk, with purposeful and discriminatory intent based upon the plaintiff's African-American race and physical disabilities, called the Chicago Police to have the plaintiff Reginald Edwards removed from the premises," Edwards says in the complaint.

He says the two officers responded, and that though he was doing nothing illegal, wheeled him out of the doughnut shop and then "without any lawful provocation or other justification ... hit and struck the plaintiff about his face, head and body causing the plaintiff serious physical and emotional injuries as and after the plaintiff verbally protested his removal from the store, and then handcuffed the plaintiff's wrist to the wheelchair in such a punitive manner as to cause the plaintiff severe pain."

Edwards says the cops then wheeled him onto a Chicago Transit Authority bus, "handcuffed and in plain view of passengers on the bus, and down to the Chicago Police Department First District station ... during which transit John Doe and/or James Doe verbally abused, harassed and intimidated the plaintiff."

Edwards claims that the officers "threatened the plaintiff that if he did not wipe the blood off of his face and tell their superior that nothing happened to him, they would charge him with serious crimes, including a felony."

When he protested, the cops "physically shook and struck the plaintiff again, and cause him to fall to the ground, causing him additional serious physical pain and suffering and severe emotional distress," according to the complaint.

Edwards says he was falsely charged with battery and resisting arrest. He seeks damages for false arrest, willful and wanton conduct, and battery. He is represented by Patrick Provenzale, with Ekl, Williams & Provenzale.

In the second case, Michael Cacini sued Chicago and its police Officers Kristopher Rigan, Thomas O'Shaughnessy and Bart Murphy, in Federal Court.

Cacini says he was in his car in April 2010 when Rigan and O'Shaughnessy drove an unmarked police car the wrong way down the street toward him, got out of their car and approached him.

"Defendants Rigan and O'Shaughnessy beat Cacini without legal justification and when Cacini attempted to flee O'Shaughnessy fired his weapon at Cacini and Cacini's car," the complaint states.

"After Cacini drove a few blocks he was stopped and pulled out of his vehicle by

Defendant Murphy.

"Defendant Murphy stepped on Cacini's head and neck, kicked Cacini repeatedly about the face, head and body, all without legal justification."

Cacini claims the three officers falsely arrested him for crimes he did not commit and committed perjury at his criminal trial.

He claims that "The practices, policies and customs described above are widespread, permanent and well-settled and were known, or should have been known, to the policymakers of the City of Chicago."

Cacini seeks damages for excessive force, unreasonable seizure, assault and battery.

He is represented by Kelly Saindon.

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