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Suit claims 11-year-old roughed up by North Chicago cop

Updated: January 13, 2013 1:29AM

North Chicago officials say they have no proof that a city police officer handcuffed and slammed a student against some lockers, but the attorney representing the mother of the 11-year-old says otherwise.

“I have two children who are witnesses and I will probably videotape their statements this week,” said Stephen Potts, the attorney for the mother who filed the federal lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Chicago. Also named in the suit is North Chicago Unit School District 187.

Potts said one of the student witnesses was interviewed at his home after the incident by a police investigator assigned to the case.

The lawsuit alleges that during the incident, the uniformed police officer walked into South Elementary School on March 22 and went down to the cafeteria where he told a school employee to send the 11-year-old student out into the hallway.

That’s where he allegedly handcuffed and slammed the student against a locker telling him he would lock him up for the rest of his life for mistreating his son.

The boy’s mother filed a complaint with the police department.

Potts said the 11-year-old claims not to know about any problems with the police officer’s son and neither do the witnesses.

After the officer released the boy and left, the 11-year-old was “uncontrollably sobbing and psychologically devastated” in the hallway, the suit said.

“Now he’s having problems,” said Potts.

The boy’s mother claims the youth suffered physical and psychological injuries and now fears for his life.

The four-count suit claims willful and wanton conduct, intentional infliction of emotional distress and false imprisonment. Monetary damages, plus the cost of the suit, are being sought.

Calls to District 187 were not returned.

The suit claims that the elementary school had no policy for making the parents of students sign in at the front desk and they have since changed that policy.

Potts said he did not think a recent shake-up in the school administration had anything to do with the suit.

“Several people were interviewed and no one could confirm the boy’s story or the officer’s story,” said North Chicago City Attorney Chuck Smith.

“There was a rather extensive internal investigation by the police and the investigation has concluded.”

He said Mayor Leon Rockingham is open to considering any additional information.

The officer has not been exonerated, but there has been no violation of department rules or regulations, Smith indicated.

The city has been under the microscope recently because of police brutality, including the death of Darrin Hanna.

There have been nearly a dozen lawsuits filed against the city over the past four years.

Potts said the city may be trying to ignore the case because of the other problems with the police department.

“We tried to talk to them (before the suit was filed). They didn’t respond,” he said.

“We just want to get some resolution for this.”

Smith said the suit has been turned over to the city’s insurance company.

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