Thursday, April 26, 2012
Parents of white girl released on bond at the 2nd District and then raped and thrown from upper floors of CHA projects can sue the Chicago Police
More than two years after getting the case, a federal appeals court today ruled that a mentally ill California woman can sue the Chicago Police Department for releasing her into a violent neighborhood where she was raped and nearly killed.
In its decision, the three-judge panel of the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the city's attempt to stop the case and said the only way to sort out whether officers violated Christina Eilman's rights is to have a trial.
The appellate court took an usually long time to decide the appeal from city of Chicago lawyers, which was filed in February 2010. Eilman's attorney had filed three motions over the last two years asking the appellate court to hurry up, and recently he asked the federal trial judge to move forward with another part of the case not on appeal.
The judge was still weighing whether to take the unusual step of splitting the case in two when the appellate ruling came down today. The judge had indicated that if she did move forward, the case would go to trial by October.
In the appellate ruling, Chief Judge Frank Easterbrook wrote that police knew Eilman was suffering a bipolar breakdown and that responsibility for the sexual assault and injuries she suffered after police released her into a high-crime neighborhood the night of May 8, 2006 has to be decided in a trial.
The city's appeal had asked the court to dismiss the case against 10 police officers accused of negligence, arguing the police had no responsibility to take care of Eilman, a 21-year-old former UCLA student who had been arrested after creating a disturbance at Midway Airport.
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