A 26-year-old man who helps educate relocated Stateway Gardens residents about their rights sued the city and six Chicago police officers Monday, alleging he was falsely arrested when he tried to gather information after a police car struck a teenager.
The suit was filed in U.S. District Court by the Edwin F. Mandel Legal Aid Clinic of the University of Chicago Law School on behalf of Kenya Richmond, a staff member of the Neighborhood Conservation Corps.
Jennifer Hoyle, a spokeswoman for the city's Law Department, said the city had not received a copy of the suit.
Richmond is part of a team monitoring the relocation of residents at Stateway Gardens as the Chicago Housing Authority redevelops the area. His duties include informing residents of their civil and legal rights and monitoring police practices as part of a project to improve resident-police relations, said Jamie Kalven, director of the Neighborhood Conservation Corps.
On March 19, 2001, Richmond was working in the management office of the building, at 3640 S. State St. The suit alleges officers chasing a teenager hit the teen with their squad car. Richmond's supervisor directed him to report on the incident.
Richmond took out his notepad and began taking down details. According to the suit, he told the officers the teen needed medical treatment. The suit alleges the officers handcuffed Richmond, put him in the squad car, and destroyed his notes. It also charges that on the way to the police station, the officers directed racial slurs at him.
The officers arrested Richmond, alleging he was directing narcotics traffic at the time, and he was charged with solicitation of unlawful business, according to the lawsuit. The charges were dismissed, said his lawyer, Craig Futterman of the Mandel Legal Aid Clinic.
Richmond, who grew up in Stateway Gardens, did serve time on a 1994 drug charge, according to court records. Staff members with the Neighborhood Conservation Corps said he used the experience to turn around his life. "The police punished him .... for exercising his 1st Amendment rights," Kalven said.