CITY COUNCIL MEET
By Ramon Torres January 17, 2013
The City Council Thursday unanimously approved two damage settlements totaling $32.75
million involving police negligence, after three aldermen in emotional statements urged passage.
A $22.5 million settlement was approved for a mentally ill 28-year-old California woman who
suffered severe injuries after police released her in one of the city’s most violent neighborhoods.
Christina Eilman suffered catastrophic injuries in a 2006 visit after she suffered a bipolar manic
episode at Midway Airport. Her unusual behavior was reported to Chicago Police from airport
personnel and instead of seeking a mental health assessment for the woman, they arrested her.
After a day in custody, she was released with no assistance, no direction and no cell phone.
Ald. Edward Burke (14th), a former police officer criticized police for releasing her, in a bad
neighborhood of Wentworth district where she was kidnapped, sexually assaulted and then
suffered permanent brain injuries when she leaped from the window of a seventh floor
Prior to the vote Burke said, “I’m asking that the full council concur in the unanimous
recommendation of the committee on financing settle Christina’s case for $22.5 million.
Christina did not deserve what happened to her.”
He said, “There was obligation to keep her safe. Instead because of their negligence, their
indifference, their careless disregard for simple compassion and sympathy, she will require
future medical care estimated to cost up to $21 million. She will never work, and in all likelihood
she will never lead the kind of normal life that we all take for granted.”
Ald. Emma Mitts (37th) in support of awarding $10.25 million to Alton Logan, 54, who spent 26
years in prison for a murder he did not commit, said, “And I didn’t come out of slavery. I’m not
in slavery no more. We are free. And the right to be free is justice for all and do the right thing.
And the system shouldn’t have allowed for this to happen.”
Ald. Howard Brookins (21st) said, “Are you kidding me? This has to end… There hasn’t been
any consequence for these actions. For the people have to pay as a people are the ones suffering
this. The real perpetrators of these crimes have gone untouched because too many people look
the opposite way.”
Mayor Rahm Emanuel proposed an ordinance on gun control. The proposal calls for raising fines
and jail time for possessing unregistered firearms and for unreported lost or stolen weapons.
Under the proposed ordinance, the penalty for having an unregistered weapon would increase
from 20-90 days to 90-180 days in jail. The fines for not reporting a lost or stolen weapon would
rise from $1,000 to $5,000 with possible jail time. The proposal was sent to committee.
At a news conference outside the council chambers, Emanuel said that this was a necessary step
to decrease gun violence and raise awareness in the city. Although it will not stop the violence,
he said he was convinced that it is a needed step towards it. After the tragedies in Connecticut, he
said that Chicago needs to take action without waiting for something to pass on the federal level.
Emanuel said, “Today we are taking the steps that are necessary that we think are both legal but
also making sure that we enhance our capacity to deal with lost and stolen guns.”
Emanuel was questioned by reporters on the reasoning and effectiveness of the ordinance on
curbing the violence in the city.
“So, we’re bringing our penalties up so it actually has some preventative capacity,” Emanuel
Ald. Debra Silverstein (50th) introduced a resolution urging the Illinois General Assembly and
Congress to pass a ban on new assault weapons. It passed unanimously. The resolution will be
sent to Illinois General Assembly, the U.S. House of Representatives, the U.S. Senate and the
White House. Silverstein said that it is clearer than ever that we need sensible gun laws.
She said, “I am a strong supporter of gun control. My hope is that the city of Chicago, Cook
County, the State of Illinois and our nation as a whole take serious steps to eliminate access to
assault weapons and high capacity magazines,”
Silverstein applauded Emanuel for his efforts to protect the people of Chicago from gun
violence. Silverstein’s resolution outlines strong efforts to reenact the 1994 Federal Assault
Weapons Ban, which banned certain models of assault weapons as well as high-capacity
According to Silverstein, the first nine years of the federal ban, the use of assault weapons in
crimes dropped by 66% and the number of murders caused by firearms dropped by 7%. This ban
included a sunset provision and expired in 2004.
Prior to the start of the council meeting, a 53 page anti-corruption report on police crime cover-
ups was passed out. It listed more than 300 officers that were convicted of corruption. The report
aims to combat the code of silence, cover-ups, and tolerance of corruption.
The report Crime, Corruption and cover-ups was compiled by Prof. Dick Simpson and other
professors and was published by the Department of Political Science of the University of Illinois