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Walker v. White, Amended complaint, wrongful conviction case, 2016

Amended complaint filed in Walker v. White - wrongful conviction suit filed on behalf of Jermaine Walker in Illinois federal court.

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Case: 1:16-cv-07024 Document #: 24 Filed: 09/26/16 Page 1 of 38 PageID #:119

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS, EASTERN DIVISION
JERMAINE WALKER,
Plaintiff,
v.
MICHAEL WHITE, ERIC REYES,
SEBASTIAN FLATLEY, BRIAN DALY,
RAULBAEZA, JR., THOMAS
GAYNOR, the CITY OF CHICAGO,
THOMAS FINNELLY, COOK
COUNTY, ILLINOIS, and
UNIDENTIFIED CHICAGO POLICE
OFFICERS AND COOK COUNTY
STATE’S ATTORNEY
INVESTIGATORS,
Defendants.

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Case No: 16-CV-7024
Hon. John W. Darrah

JURY TRIAL DEMANDED

AMENDED COMPLAINT
Now comes Plaintiff, JERMAINE WALKER, by and through his attorneys,
LOEVY & LOEVY and the HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENSE CENTER, and
complaining of Defendants MICHAEL WHITE (Star No. 860), ERIC REYES (Star
No. 10126), SEBASTIAN FLATLEY (Star No. 13734), BRIAN DALY (Star No.
9364), RAUL BAEZA, JR. (Star No. 4918), THOMAS GAYNOR (Star No. 5069),
the CITY OF CHICAGO, THOMAS FINNELLY, COOK COUNTY, ILLINOIS,
and unidentified Chicago police officers and Cook County State’s Attorney
investigators, states as follows:

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Introduction
1.

Plaintiff Jermaine Walker was a computer science student at Fisk

University when he fell victim to misconduct all too common in today’s society:
The Defendant police officers planted drugs on him, fabricated evidence, and
lied about it, causing Mr. Walker to spend a decade of his life falsely imprisoned
for a crime he did not commit.
2.

Mr. Walker’s case is atypical in two respects. One, the Defendants

were caught framing Plaintiff, leading to Mr. Walker’s exoneration and his later
receipt of a certificate of innocence. Two, Defendant Finnelly, a member of the
Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, deliberately took misleading
photographic evidence as part of the Defendants’ plot to frame Plaintiff, a plot
that took ten years to unravel.
3.

Mr. Walker has been released from his wrongful incarceration, but

has struggled to recover all that he has lost. He missed the most formative years
of his life, when his peers were starting their careers, getting married, and having
children. He brings this suit to seek such redress for these losses as the law
allows.
JURISDICTION AND VENUE
4.

This action is brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 to address the
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deprivation under color of law of Plaintiff’s rights as secured by the United
States Constitution and under state law.
5.

This Court has jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331 and 28

U.S.C. § 1367.
6.

Venue is proper under 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b) because, upon

information and belief, all defendants reside in this district, and nearly all of the
events giving rise to the claims asserted herein occurred within this district.
THE PARTIES
7.

Plaintiff JERMAINE WALKER is a resident of Illinois. At the time of

his arrest he was studying computer science at Fisk University on a full
scholarship.
8.

Defendant Sergeant MICHAEL WHITE was at all times relevant to

this Complaint a Chicago Police Sergeant (Star No. 860) acting under color of law
and within the scope of his employment. Defendant White is sued in his
individual capacity.
9.

Defendant Officer ERIC REYES was at all times relevant to this

Complaint a Chicago Police Officer (Star No. 10126) acting under color of law
and within the scope of his employment. Defendant Reyes is sued in his
individual capacity.

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10.

Defendant Officer SEBASTIAN FLATLEY was at all times relevant

to this Complaint a Chicago Police Officer (Star No. 13734) acting under color of
law and within the scope of his employment. Defendant Flatley is sued in his
individual capacity.
11.

Defendant Officer BRIAN DALY was at all times relevant to this

Complaint a Chicago Police Officer (Star No. 9364) acting under color of law and
within the scope of his employment. Defendant DALY is sued in his individual
capacity.
12.

Defendant Officer RAUL BAEZA was at all times relevant to this

Complaint a Chicago Police Officer (Star No. 4918) acting under color of law and
within the scope of his employment. Defendant BAEZA is sued in his individual
capacity.
13.

Defendant Officer THOMAS GAYNOR was at all times relevant to

this Complaint a Chicago Police Officer (Star No. 5069) acting under color of law
and within the scope of his employment. Defendant GAYNOR is sued in his
individual capacity.
14.

Defendant THOMAS FINNELLY was at all times relevant to this

Complaint an investigator employed by the Cook County State’s Attorney’s
Office acting under color of law and within the scope of his employment.
Defendant Finnelly is sued in his individual capacity.
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15.

Defendant the CITY OF CHICAGO is a political subdivision of the

State of Illinois. At the time of the events giving rise to this Complaint, the City of
Chicago was the employer of Defendants Michael White, Eric Reyes, Sebastian
Flatley, Brian Daly, Raul Baeza, Thomas Gaynor, and Unidentified Chicago
Police Officers (together, “Defendant Officers”) who acted pursuant to the City’s
policies and practices. As the employer of the Defendant Officers, the City of
Chicago is liable for their torts under the doctrine of respondeat superior.
16.

Defendant COOK COUNTY, ILLINOIS (the “County”) is a political

subdivision of the State of Illinois. At all times relevant to this Complaint, the
County funded the operations of the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office,
which employed Defendant Thomas Finnelly and Unidentified Cook County
State’s Attorney’s Investigators. Illinois law requires that the County indemnify
claims against state employees where the County funds the state office that
employs them.
17.

UNIDENTIFIED CHICAGO POLICE OFFICERS were at all times

relevant to this Complaint officers serving in the Chicago Police Department.
They are sued in their individual capacities.
18.

UNIDENTIFIED COOK COUNTY STATE’S ATTORNEY’S

INVESTIGATORS were at all times relevant to this Complaint investigators
employed by the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office. They are sued in their
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individual capacities.
FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS
19.

On the evening of February 21, 2006, Mr. Walker and his brother

Russell Walker were headed to a family gathering at their sister’s house on the
north side of Chicago.
20.

Mr. Walker was at that time a student at Fisk University in

Tennessee, where he was studying computer science and doing research on
superconductivity, all on a full scholarship.
21.

Mr. Walker was driving his car and Russell was in the passenger

22.

At about 8:30 pm, the brothers were parked in the parking lot of J.J.

seat.

Pepper’s at 4800 North Sheridan Road, where they had stopped to make a
purchase before going to their sister’s home.
23.

As he pulled out of the parking lot, Mr. Walker turned onto West

Lawrence Avenue.
24.

He immediately noticed lights from a police car behind him, and,

understanding that he was being directed to pull over, he turned into an alley
adjacent to Lawrence House, an apartment building at 1020 West Lawrence
Avenue.
25.

Mr. Walker had not committed any infraction that would have
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justified being stopped by the police.
26.

The Defendant Officers followed Mr. Walker’s car into the alley.

27.

Defendant Reyes approached Plaintiff’s car with his gun drawn and

requested his driver’s license, insurance, and registration.
28.

Despite having been unjustly stopped, Mr. Walker provided his

valid driver’s license, current registration, and current insurance to Defendant
Reyes.
29.

Mr. Walker asked Defendant Reyes why he had been pulled over,

but Reyes refused to give him any explanation.
30.

Defendant Reyes then ordered Mr. Walker to get out of the car so

the officers could search it.
31.

Defendant Reyes had no basis to stop Plaintiff, let alone to demand

that he exit his car and submit to an illegal search of his car.
32.

Knowing that the Defendants had no grounds to search the car, Mr.

Walker declined to exit his car. Instead, believing that his rights were being
violated, Mr. Walker asked to speak to a sergeant.
33.

Defendant Sergeant White arrived at the scene shortly thereafter.

He asked Mr. Walker why he needed to speak to a sergeant. Mr. Walker
responded that he had been pulled over for no reason and the Defendant Officers
had not given him any justification for the stop.
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34.

Rather than discipline his subordinate officers, or articulate to Mr.

Walker why he had been pulled over, Defendant White also ordered Mr. Walker
out of his car without justification.
35.

Mr. Walker was increasingly afraid for his safety, given the

Defendant Officers’ unlawful traffic stop, menacing display of a weapon, and
hostile tone when they tried to violate his constitutional right to be free of
unreasonable searches and seizures.
36.

When Mr. Walker delayed exiting his car, the Defendant Officers

began screaming at him. Fearing what the Defendant Officers might do, Mr.
Walker then exited the car, still without knowing why he had been stopped or
why he was being ordered out of his car.
37.

The Defendant Officers were irate that Plaintiff had not immediately

submitted to their unjust display of authority. As soon as he exited his car,
Defendants White, Reyes, and Flatley began to beat Mr. Walker. The remaining
Defendant Officers either participated in the unjust use of force along with
Defendant Officers White, Reyes, and Flatley, or watched the unjustified assault
on Mr. Walker and, despite having the opportunity to prevent the abuse, did
nothing to intervene.
38.

A surveillance camera was mounted in the alley where the events

described above transpired. The camera was in plain sight to everyone present.
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39.

That camera, which fed images of the alley to an employee inside

the adjacent Lawrence House, was part of Lawrence House’s security system.
40.

While still inside his car, Mr. Walker noticed the camera capturing

the events. After the Defendants began beating him, he pointed out the camera to
the Defendant Officers and told them their unconscionable behavior was being
recorded.
41.

Nevertheless, Mr. Walker was beaten several times by the

Defendants and then handcuffed and arrested. Despite having committed no
crime, Mr. Walker was falsely charged with possession with intent to distribute
narcotics within 1,000 feet of a school.
42.

In their police reports of the incident, the Defendant Officers falsely

claimed that Plaintiff possessed narcotics while in the alley. This was a complete
fabrication.
43.

The Defendants inventoried narcotics and falsely claimed that the

drugs had been possessed by Plaintiff. Those drugs were later used as evidence
against Mr. Walker at trial.
44.

Defendant Officers White, Reyes, Flatley, Daly, Baeza, and Gaynor

all either falsely reported that the narcotics were recovered from Plaintiff or they
knew other Defendant Officers were falsely reporting that the narcotics were
recovered from Plaintiff and failed to prevent the fabrication despite an
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opportunity to do so.
45.

All along, Mr. Walker contended that he had not been dealing

narcotics, but even if he had been, he would not have done so in front of the
camera in the alley recording all of the events. But without any photographs or
witnesses of his own, he could not corroborate his account.
46.

At trial, Defendant Finnelly testified that he was assigned by the

State’s Attorney’s Office to go to the scene of the arrest to take pictures of the
alley and to photograph any camera that might be there, as part of his duties as
an investigator for the Office.
47.

Despite the presence of the camera in plain view on the west wall of

the alley, Defendant Finnelly intentionally did not photograph it. He
photographed other areas of the alley, but deliberately avoided photographing
the location where Plaintiff’s car had been stopped below the camera.
48.

Specifically, the camera at issue is located just inside the mouth of

the alley, clearly visible. The photographs below accurately portray the location
of the camera and the lack of obstructions surrounding the camera on February
21, 2006:

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49.

An inspection of Defendant Finnelly’s photographs demonstrates

his intentional misconduct.
50.

When directed to photograph the camera in the alley, Defendant

Finnelly positioned himself in such a manner that it would appear he was
photographing the entire alley, but in fact he intentionally prevented the camera
from appearing in all nine of his photographs of the alley.
51.

For example, rather than photographing the alley from the mouth of

the alley, which would depict the camera on the left side of the frame just inside
the alley, Defendant Finnelly walked into the alley just far enough that the
camera would not appear in the photograph.
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52.

The following is an accurate reproduction of the photograph taken

by Defendant Finnelly which was introduced as People’s Exhibit 4 at Plaintiff’s
trial, suggesting that there was no camera in the alley:

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53.

Defendant Finnelly also photographed the alley from the opposite

direction, facing south. However, he deliberately chose a vantage point that
would obscure the camera. Specifically, he stood to the right side of the alley,
facing south, so that the telephone poles in the alley would hide the camera.
54.

The following is an accurate reproduction of the photograph taken

by Defendant Finnelly which was introduced as People’s Exhibit 8 at Plaintiff’s
trial, likewise making it appear that there was no camera in the alley:

55.

Knowing that his sole assignment was to photograph any cameras in

the alley, Defendant Finnelly then proceeded to take close-up photographs of
any objects that might appear to be cameras in the overviews of the alley that he
photographed, depicted above. Taking close-ups to rule out the possibility that
the objects might be cameras made it appear as if Defendant Finnelly had
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scoured the alley for anything that might appear to be a camera, but found
nothing.
56.

The following is an accurate reproduction of the photograph taken

by Defendant Finnelly which was introduced as People’s Exhibit 9 at Plaintiff’s
trial:

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57.

The following is an accurate reproduction of the photograph taken

by Defendant Finnelly which was introduced as People’s Exhibit 10 at Plaintiff’s
trial.

58.

Prosecutors relied on the false police reports and the misleading

photographs of the alley in deciding to and continuing to prosecute Mr. Walker.
59.

Mr. Walker could not afford his bail, so he was forced to prepare for

trial while imprisoned in Cook County Jail. Knowing he was innocent, Mr.
Walker asserted his right to a speedy trial as his only means to gain his release
from the false charges.

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60.

In preparation for trial, Mr. Walker asked the court to appoint an

investigator to obtain photographs of the camera in the alley and to locate
witnesses who could testify that the camera was there on February 21, 2006. Mr.
Walker planned to use this evidence to support his truthful defense that the
drugs had been planted, because he would not have engaged in a drug deal in
front of a camera that might be recording the transaction.
61.

The court, unfortunately, denied this request, permitting Defendant

Finnelly’s manipulated photographs to stand unrebutted.
62.

At trial, Defendant Finnelly testified that he walked the entire length

of the alley, but denied having seen any camera there.
63.

This testimony was false.

64.

Defendants White and Reyes also testified at trial that there was no

camera in the alley.
65.

Their testimony was also false.

66.

Based on Defendants’ falsehoods and fabrications, the State was able

to paint Plaintiff as a liar at his trial, arguing:
There was a camera in the alley? Ladies and gentlemen,
there is absolutely no evidence of that. Witness after
witness after witness took that stand and told you there
is no camera. You have pictures of the alley, including
close-ups that show you there is no camera.
If there was a camera, do you think defendant and his
brother would be stupid enough to deal drugs in front
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of it? Come on. Don’t you think they would pick
another alley? Get real. The police officers planted
drugs? This is the most baffling of all.
67.

Despite his innocence, and based on Defendants’ false police reports,

their planted evidence, and the misleading photographs, Mr. Walker was
convicted and sentenced to 22 years imprisonment.
68.

Mr. Walker appealed his conviction, arguing that the trial court was

wrong to deny him an investigator. Relying heavily on Defendant Finnelly’s false
testimony and misleading photographs, the State argued that access to an
investigator would not have changed anything, because “the evidence and
testimony demonstrated that there was no camera in the alley where defendant
was arrested.”
69.

The Illinois Appellate Court agreed with the State, stating that “the

overwhelming evidence at trial supports a finding” that there was no camera in
the alley. Accordingly, based on Defendants’ lies, the appellate court ruled that
sending the case back to appoint an investigator would achieve nothing.
70.

On May 4, 2015, Mr. Walker filed a petition for post-conviction relief

presenting new evidence proving the camera’s existence and demonstrating that
the Defendants lied under oath.
71.

While the petition was pending, the Cook County State’s Attorney

investigated Mr. Walker’s claims about the existence of the camera. That
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investigation led the State’s Attorney to conclude that Defendants Finnelly,
Flatley, and Reyes had perjured themselves.
72.

The State then filed its own motion to vacate Mr. Walker’s

conviction and sentence, and to dismiss the charges against him.
73.

On March 25, 2016, after more than ten years of incarceration, the

Cook County Circuit Court vacated the indictment against Mr. Walker and
dismissed all charges.
74.

In doing so, the court said:
Well, obviously there were witnesses that were sworn under oath
that testified and presented evidence corroborating their testimony.
And when someone has taken an oath to tell the truth and testifies,
there is a presumption that they are going to tell the truth.
Obviously, we have found out that that does not occur. A severe
injustice was done here. But everybody in the court system was
relying on the information and the photographs that were sworn to
as a truth, and it is very disturbing and upsetting, especially as a
judge, to be involved in a system where an officer, especially an
officer of the court, would come in an swear under oath to
something that was not true. That’s a terrible thing and very
disheartening to find out that someone has done something like this.
* * *
Well, Jermaine, you are very kind in this horrible situation that you
have been put in. There’s no words that can explain how sorry I am
that the justice system failed in this case. And we worked very hard
to try to ensure that the truth comes out and, you know, it just took
so long for it to come out.
It’s really outrageous that police officers and an officer of the State’s
Attorney’s office swore under oath here and actually backed it up
with photographs that didn’t even fit the relevant situation that we
had in your case and, you know, on behalf of the entire system, I am
so sorry that this has happened to you, and we hope that it, you
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know, does not ever happen again.
I have been on—I was a State’s Attorney for 14 years, a judge for 21
years, and this has never happened. I have never had to do this, and
I am sickened by the fact that I have had to do it at all since I have
been here. And I know that from the very moment that I saw the
affidavit that this camera did in fact exist, that I had everybody give
it their utmost attention so that we can get it resolved and so that we
could come to the just outcome and that you could be released.
So at this time, the defendant’s conviction will be vacated.
75.

On April 27, 2016, the same court granted Mr. Walker a Certificate of

Innocence.
MR. WALKER’S DAMAGES
76.

Mr. Walker spent ten years in prison for a crime that he did not

commit.
77.

As a result of his wrongful incarceration, Mr. Walker was stripped

of the pleasures of basic human experience, from the most quotidian to the most
important, which all free people enjoy as a matter of right. For ten years, he was
unable to share holidays, births, funerals, and other life events with loved ones.
He was deprived of the opportunity to work, to vote, and the fundamental
freedom to live one’s life as an autonomous human being.
78.

As a result of the foregoing, Mr. Walker has suffered severe

emotional distress, exacerbation of existing mental illness, extreme anxiety,
thoughts of suicide, and physical sickness and injury.
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79.

Moreover, at the time of his conviction and incarceration, Mr.

Walker was a college student on a full scholarship, studying computer science.
He has suffered the loss of his scholarship as well the possibility of earning
income from a career in information technology.
Count I – 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Fourteenth Amendment
80.

Plaintiff incorporates all of the paragraphs of this Complaint as if

fully restated herein.
81.

As set forth more fully above, the Defendant Officers and

Investigators, acting individually, jointly, and in conspiracy, fabricated false
reports and other evidence and/or withheld exculpatory evidence, including but
not limited to:
(1) Fabricating evidence that no camera existed in the alley which
could have recorded the encounter between Mr. Walker and the
Defendant Officers, and withholding evidence of that camera’s
existence;
(2) Fabricating false reports that drugs were found in Mr. Walker’s
possession on February 21, 2006, and withholding the true origin of
those narcotics; and
(3) Inventorying narcotics from another source and pretending they
were Mr. Walker’s.
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82.

In doing so, the Defendant Officers and Investigators violated their

clearly established constitutional duty to report all material exculpatory and
impeachment information to prosecutors.
83.

Absent the Defendant Officers and Investigators’ misconduct, the

prosecution of Plaintiff would not have been pursued, and Plaintiff would not
have been convicted.
84.

The Defendants Officers and Investigators’ misconduct directly and

proximately resulted in the unjust and wrongful conviction of Plaintiff and his
wrongful imprisonment, denying him his constitutional right to a fair trial, in
violation of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United
States Constitution.
85.

The misconduct described in this Count was objectively

unreasonable and was undertaken intentionally and wantonly, with malice and
willful indifference to Plaintiff’s clearly established constitutional rights.
86.

As a direct and proximate result of this violation of his constitutional

right to a fair trial, Plaintiff suffered injuries including but not limited to loss of
liberty, physical sickness and injury, and emotional distress.
87.

The misconduct described in this Count was undertaken pursuant to

the policies and practices of the City of Chicago of pursuing convictions in
reckless disregard of the truth by using fabricated evidence and withholding
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material exculpatory and impeachment evidence.
88.

As a matter of both policy and practice, the City of Chicago directly

encourages, and is thereby the moving force behind, the very type of misconduct
at issue here by failing to adequately train, supervise and control its police
officers, such that its failure to do so manifests deliberate indifference.
89.

Additionally, as a matter of both policy and practice, the City of

Chicago facilitates the very type of misconduct at issue here by failing to
adequately investigate, punish and discipline prior instances of similar
misconduct, thereby leading police officers in the City of Chicago to believe their
actions will never be scrutinized and, in that way, directly encouraging future
abuses such as those that affected Plaintiff.
90.

Indeed, municipal policymakers have long been aware of the City of

Chicago’s policy and practice of failing to properly train, monitor, investigate
and discipline misconduct by its police officers, but have failed to take actions to
remedy the problem. For example:
(a) At a City Council hearing on September 28, 1999, in response to
two high profile unjustified police shootings, Superintendent
Terry Hillard noted the need for better in-service training on the
use of force, early detection of potential problem officers, and
officer accountability for the use of force.
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(b) In June 2000, the Chairman of the Committee on Police and Fire
of the Chicago City Council submitted an official resolution
recognizing that “[Chicago] police officers who do not carry out
their responsibilities in a professional manner have ample reason
to believe that they will not be held accountable, even in
instances of egregious misconduct.”
(c) In 2001, the Justice Coalition of Greater Chicago (“JCGC”), a
coalition of more than a hundred community groups, confirmed
the findings of that resolution, concluding that the Chicago Police
Department lacked many of the basic tools necessary to identify,
monitor, punish and prevent police misconduct and brutality.
The JCGC findings were presented to Mayor Daley,
Superintendent Hillard, and the Chicago Police Board.
91.

Despite the municipal policymakers’ knowledge of the City’s failed

policies and practices to adequately train, supervise, investigate, discipline, and
control its police officers, nothing was done to remedy these problems.
92.

As a result, the Chicago Police Department has continued to

respond to complaints of police misconduct inadequately and with undue delay,
and to recommend discipline in a disproportionately small number of cases.
93.

Indeed, by its own admissions, over 99% of the time when a citizen
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complains that his or her civil rights were violated by police officers, the City of
Chicago sides with the police officer and concludes that no violation occurred.
94.

For example, in 2005, at least 1,592 complaints of civil rights

violations were lodged against Chicago Police Officers with the Police
Department’s Internal Affairs Division. A total of 5 were sustained, and that
total may include cases arising in previous years. See
http://4abpn833c0nr1zvwp7447f2b.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wpcontent/uploads/2014/12/2005-Annual-Report.pdf at 41.
95.

In other words, IAD sustained only 0.314% of the complaints that its

police officers had committed civil rights violations in 2005.
96.

In 2006, the number of civil rights complaints was 1,492. Twelve

were sustained. See http://home.chicagopolice.org/wpcontent/uploads/2014/12/2006-Annual-Report.pdf at 62. Based on those
numbers, IAD sustained only 0.8% of the civil rights complaints against Chicago
police officers in 2006.
97.

The same unconstitutionally lax oversight is evident across the

multiple entities that have been responsible for investigating police misconduct.
In 2006, for example, the Office of Professional Standards (“OPS”), which
investigates complaints of excessive force, sustained only 57 out of 2,391
complaints excessive force by police officers, or 2%.
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98.

This trend continued throughout Mr. Walker’s wrongful

incarceration. In the most recently published annual report available on-line
from the Independent Police Review Authority (“IPRA,” the successor to OPS),
IPRA reported that it sustained just under four percent of all complaints brought
against officers for the 2011 to 2012 reporting period. See
http://www.iprachicago.org/IPRA_AnnualReport2010-2012.pdf at page 31;
Tables 1-3 (reporting that 105 complaints were sustained in the 2688
investigations that were closed during the annual cycle).
99.

Even in the most extreme example of police shootings of Chicago

residents, OPS exonerated CPD officers in over 99% of cases, regardless of the
actual circumstances of the shooting.
100.

The City of Chicago’s investigation of citizen complaints is

characterized by unreasonably long delays, despite the relative straight-forward
nature of many misconduct claims.
101.

For example, one case in which an officer beat a man on his head

with a baton, cracking his skull, was thrown out by the Police Board because
IPRA failed to pursue charges before the five years statute of limitations had
expired. In that case, the complainant had provided a statement and
photographs of his injuries just days after the incident yet IPRA took more than
five years to decide to pursue charges against the officer. See Annie Sweeney and
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Jeremy Gorner, Police Misconduct Investigation Drags On For Years –
Investigative agency’s delays can lead to dismissal of charges, Chicago Tribune,
June 17, 2012.
102.

Although the City of Chicago has long been aware that its

supervision, training, and discipline of police officers is entirely inadequate, it
has not enacted any substantive measures to address that deficiency.
103.

Instead, Chicago continues to inadequately investigate citizen

complaints. It has also failed to modify its officer training programs to reduce
misconduct against Chicago residents or to implement a system to identify and
track repeat offenders, districts, or units.
104.

City of Chicago policymakers have consistently maintained an

attitude of deliberate indifference, ignoring these issues. At a City Council
meeting regarding its oversight of police officers held on October 29, 2014, fewer
than twelve council members were present and not one asked a single question
about the City’s performance investigating fatal shootings by officers or about
the number of excessive force complaints the City has sustained. See Chip
Mitchell, Aldermen skip chance to ask about city's handling of police
commander, WBEZ (Oct. 29, 2014), available at
http://www.wbez.org/news/aldermen-skip-chance-ask-about-citys-handlingpolice-commander-111016.
26

Case: 1:16-cv-07024 Document #: 24 Filed: 09/26/16 Page 27 of 38 PageID #:145

105.

The failure of the City’s policies does not just stop with the

investigating agencies. Even when investigators recommend some form of
discipline, the Police Superintendent often overrides that recommendation.
106.

For example, in 2014, Police Commander Glen Evans of the Harrison

District was accused of ramming his pistol down an arrestee’s throat, the latest in
a long line of allegations of abuse against Evans. IPRA recommended that
Commander Evans be stripped of his police powers pending their investigation
after finding DNA evidence of the victim on Evans’s gun. Ignoring IPRA’s
recommendation, Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy and Mayor Rahm
Emmanuel supported Evans and he remained in his leadership position as
District Commander until he was criminally indicted in August 2014.
107.

Indeed, in 2012, Superintendent McCarthy promoted Evans to a

leadership position in the Department despite the fact that over the course of his
career there were over fifty citizen complaints filed against him. A report by the
now deceased Chicago epidemiologist, Dr. Steve Whitman, found that Evan was
ranked number one out of 1,541 officers he studied as having received the most
complaints in his analysis of 13,527 excessive force complaints against Chicago
Officers from 1998-2008. See Chip Mitchell, Report: Embattled commander No. 1
for excessive-force complaints, WBEZ (Aug. 5, 2014), available at
http://www.wbez.org/news/reportembattled-commander-no-1-excessive27

Case: 1:16-cv-07024 Document #: 24 Filed: 09/26/16 Page 28 of 38 PageID #:146

force-complaints-110605.
108.

In contrast, when investigators do not recommend any discipline,

police supervisors agree with the investigators’ determination one hundred
percent of the time and never independently recommend disciplining an officer
accused of violating citizens’ civil rights.
109.

In the case of Obryka v. City of Chicago et al., No. 07 cv 2372 (N.D. Ill.)

(the Abbate case), a jury found that as of February 2007 “the City [of Chicago]
had a widespread custom and/or practice of failing to investigate and/or
discipline its officers and/or code of silence.”
110.

The same constitutionally-defective oversight system in place in

February 2007 was also in place on February 21, 2006, when Mr. Walker suffered
the abuse described above.
111.

Indeed, the problem found to exist by the jury in Obrycka continues

to this day. In December 2015, Mayor Rahm Emanuel acknowledged that a
“code of silence” exists within the Chicago Police Department that encourages
cover-ups of police misconduct, and that the City’s attempts to deal with police
abuse and corruption have never been adequate.
Count II – 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Failure to Intervene
112.

Plaintiff incorporates all of the paragraphs of this Complaint as if

fully restated herein.
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113.

As set forth more fully above, the Defendant Officers and

Investigators had a reasonable opportunity to intervene to prevent the
deprivation of Mr. Walker’s constitutional rights, but failed to do so.
114.

In failing to intervene, the Defendant Officers and Investigators

violated their clearly established constitutional duty to report all material
exculpatory and impeachment information to prosecutors.
115.

Absent Defendants’ misconduct, the prosecution of Plaintiff would

not have been pursued, and Plaintiff would not have been convicted.
116.

Defendants’ misconduct directly and proximately resulted in the

unjust and wrongful conviction of Plaintiff and his wrongful imprisonment,
denying him his constitutional right to a fair trial, in violation of the Due Process
Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
117.

The misconduct described in this Count was objectively

unreasonable and was undertaken intentionally and wantonly, with malice and
willful indifference to Plaintiff’s clearly established constitutional rights.
118.

As a direct and proximate result of this violation of his constitutional

right to a fair trial, Plaintiff suffered injuries including but not limited to loss of
liberty, physical sickness and injury, and emotional distress.
119.

The misconduct described in this Count was undertaken pursuant to

the policies and practices of the City of Chicago of pursuing convictions in
29

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reckless disregard of the truth by using fabricated evidence and withholding
material exculpatory and impeachment as described in paragraphs 84-105 of this
Complaint.
Count III – 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Conspiracy
120.

Plaintiff incorporates all of the paragraphs of this Complaint as if

fully restated herein.
121.

As set forth more fully above, the Defendant Officers and

Investigators agreed among themselves and with other individuals to act in
concert in order to deprive Plaintiff of his constitutional rights, including his
rights under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments, all as described in the
various paragraphs of this Complaint.
122.

Additionally, before and after Plaintiff’s conviction, the Defendant

Officers and Investigators further conspired, and continue to conspire, to deprive
Plaintiff of exculpatory information to which he was lawfully entitled and which
would have led either to his not being charged, his being acquitted, or his more
timely exoneration. Each Defendant shared in the objective of depriving Plaintiff
of his constitutional rights in this way.
123.

In this manner, Defendants Officers and Investigators, acting in

concert with other unknown co-conspirators, conspired by concerted action to
accomplish an unlawful purpose by unlawful means.
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124.

In furtherance of the conspiracy, each of the co-conspirators engaged

in and facilitated numerous overt acts, including but not limited to those set forth
above – such as fabricating evidence and withholding exculpatory evidence –
and was an otherwise willful participant in joint activity.
125.

As a direct and proximate result of the illicit prior agreements and

actions in furtherance of the conspiracy referenced above, Plaintiff’s rights were
violated, and he sustained injuries, including loss of liberty, physical injury and
sickness, and emotional pain and suffering, as is more fully alleged above.
126.

The misconduct described in this Count was objectively

unreasonable and was undertaken intentionally and wantonly, with malice and
willful indifference to Plaintiff’s clearly established constitutional rights.
127.

Absent Defendants’ misconduct, the prosecution of Plaintiff would

not have been pursued, and Plaintiff would not have been convicted.
128.

Defendants’ misconduct directly and proximately resulted in the

unjust and wrongful prosecution and conviction of Plaintiff and his wrongful
imprisonment, denying him his constitutional right to a fair trial, in violation of
the Fourth Amendment and/or the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth
Amendment to the United States Constitution.
129.

As a direct and proximate result of this violation of his constitutional

right to a fair trial, Plaintiff suffered injuries including but not limited to loss of
31

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liberty, physical sickness and injury, and emotional distress.
130.

The misconduct described in this Count was undertaken pursuant to

the policies and practices of the City of Chicago of pursuing convictions in
reckless disregard of the truth by using fabricated evidence and withholding
material exculpatory and impeachment evidence, as described in paragraphs 84105 of this Complaint.
Count IV – 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Fourth Amendment Malicious Prosecution
131.

Plaintiff incorporates all of the paragraphs of this Complaint as if

fully restated herein.
132.

As described more fully above, the Defendant Officers and

Investigators made, influenced, or participated in the decision to initiate the
criminal prosecution against Mr. Walker.
133.

This prosecution was initiated without probable cause to believe

that Mr. Walker had committed the crime.
134.

On March 25, 2016, the proceeding was resolved in Mr. Walker’s

favor when the indictment against him was dismissed.
135.

The misconduct described in this Count was objectively

unreasonable and was undertaken intentionally and wantonly, with malice and
willful indifference to Plaintiff’s clearly established constitutional rights.
136.

As a direct and proximate result of the legal proceeding maliciously
32

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instituted by the Defendant Officers and Investigators, Plaintiff suffered
damages, including loss of liberty, physical injury and sickness, and emotional
pain and suffering, as is more fully alleged above.
Count V - State Law
Malicious Prosecution
137.

Plaintiff incorporates all of the paragraphs of this Complaint as if

fully restated herein.
138.

As described more fully above, the Defendant Officers and

Investigators maliciously and without any reasonable ground of suspicion, and
unsupported by circumstances sufficiently strong in themselves to warrant a
cautious person in the belief that Mr. Walker was guilty of the offense, instituted
prosecution against him.
139.

The proceeding was resolved in Mr. Walker’s favor when the

indictment against him was dismissed on March 25, 2016.
140.

The misconduct described in this Count was objectively

unreasonable and was undertaken intentionally and wantonly, with malice and
willful indifference to Plaintiff’s clearly established constitutional rights.
141.

As a direct and proximate result of the legal proceeding maliciously

instituted by Defendant Officers and Investigators, Plaintiff suffered damages,
including loss of liberty, physical injury and sickness, and emotional pain and
suffering, as is more fully alleged above.
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Count VI – Illinois State Law
Conspiracy
142.

Plaintiff incorporates all of the paragraphs of this Complaint as if

fully restated herein.
143.

As described more fully in the preceding paragraphs, the Defendant

Officers and Investigators entered into an agreement among themselves to
participate in an unlawful act or act in an unlawful manner toward Plaintiff,
including by conspiring to deprive Mr. Walker of his constitutional rights.
144.

Each of the Defendant Officers and Investigators was a willing

participant in and committed one or more overt acts to further their common
scheme of acting in an unlawful manner toward Plaintiff.
145.

As a proximate result of this conspiracy, Plaintiff suffered damages,

including but not limited to physical sickness and injury and emotional distress.
146.

The misconduct described in this Count was undertaken by

Defendant Officers and Investigators within the scope of their employment and
under color of law such that their employers, the City of Chicago and Anita
Alvarez, in her official capacity as Cook County State’s Attorney, are liable for
their actions.
Count VII – State Law
Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress
147.

Plaintiff incorporates all of the paragraphs of this Complaint as if
34

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fully restated herein.
148.

In the manner described more fully above, by depriving Mr. Walker

of his right to a fair trial and by maliciously prosecuting him, the Defendant
Officers and Investigators engaged in extreme and outrageous conduct.
149.

In carrying out the actions described above, Defendant Officers and

Investigators either intended to inflict or knew that there was a high probability
that their conduct would cause severe emotional distress.
150.

These Defendants’ actions were willful and wanton, undertaken

with malice and reckless indifference to the rights of others.
151.

The misconduct described in this Count was undertaken by

Defendant Officers and Investigators within the scope of their employment such
that their employers, the City of Chicago and Anita Alvarez, in her official
capacity as Cook County State’s Attorney, are liable for their actions.
152.

As a direct and proximate result of misconduct, Mr. Walker suffered

injuries including but not limited to severe emotional distress.
COUNT VIII– State Law
Respondeat Superior
153.

Plaintiff incorporates all of the paragraphs of this Complaint as if

fully restated herein.
154.

In committing the acts alleged in the preceding paragraphs, the

Defendant Officers were employees and agents of the City of Chicago and the
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Chicago Police Department acting at all relevant times within the scope of their
employment.
155.

Defendant the City of Chicago is liable as principal for all torts

committed by its agents.
Count IX – State Law
Indemnification
156.

Plaintiff incorporates all of the paragraphs of this Complaint as if

fully restated herein.
157.

Illinois law requires public entities to pay any tort judgment for

compensatory damages against an employee acting within the scope of his or her
employment. Illinois law also requires that Cook County pay any tort judgment
for compensatory damages against a state employee where the County funds the
state office that employs the tortfeasor. The Cook County State’s Attorney’s
Office is funded by Defendant Cook County.
158.

The Defendant Officers and Investigators are or were employees of

the City of Chicago and the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, who acted
within the scope of their employment in committing the misconduct described
herein.
WHEREFORE Plaintiff, Jermaine Walker, respectfully requests that this
Court enter judgment in his favor and against Defendants MICHAEL WHITE,
ERIC REYES, SEBASTIAN FLATLEY, BRIAN DALY, RAUL BAEZA, THOMAS
36

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GAYNOR, the CITY OF CHICAGO, THOMAS FINNELLY, COOK COUNTY,
ILLINOIS, and UNIDENTIFIED CHICAGO POLICE OFFICERS AND COOK
COUNTY STATE’S ATTORNEY INVESTIGATORS, awarding compensatory
damages, costs, and attorneys’ fees against each Defendant, along with punitive
damages against each of the individual Defendants, as well as any other relief
this Court deems appropriate.

JURY DEMAND
Plaintiff, JERMAINE WALKER, hereby demands a trial by jury pursuant
to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 38(b) on all issues so triable.

Respectfully submitted,
/s/ Gretchen E. Helfrich
One of Plaintiff’s Attorneys

/s/ Lance Weber
One of Plaintiff’s Attorneys

Jon Loevy
Russell Ainsworth
Elizabeth Mazur
Gretchen E. Helfrich
LOEVY & LOEVY
311 North Aberdeen Street
Third Floor
Chicago, Illinois 60607
Phone: (312) 243-5900

Lance Weber*
Florida Bar No.: 104550
Sabarish Neelakanta*
Florida Bar No.: 26623
Human Rights Defense Center
PO Box 1151
Lake Worth, FL 33460
(561) 360-2523
lweber@humanrightsdefensecenter.org
37

Case: 1:16-cv-07024 Document #: 24 Filed: 09/26/16 Page 38 of 38 PageID #:156

Fax: (312) 243-5902
Jon@loevy.com
Russell@loevy.com
Elizabethm@loevy.com
Gretchen@loevy.com

sneelakanta@humanrightsdefensecenter.org
* pro hac vice application pending

38



 

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