Chicago, IL Police sued for excessive force

Chicago, IL Police sued for excessive force


By the burglars they injured during a robbery

In an odd twist of fate, two burglars have joined a suit against the Chicago Police for shooting up the van they were riding in to escape a burglary in met with well, bullets.

The suit was filed by David Strong’s mother. 27 year old, David the driver, was shot in the head and died at the hospital. Two other 37 year old men Leland Dudley and John Givens who were also in the van and who were injured have joined the suit.

They were also convicted of the burglary.

The police claimed that the men were traveling at a very high rate of speed and broke through the garage door they were burglarizing.

They were met with by police and a hell of a lot of bullets.

The burglary happened 4/30/2012 and the aftermath was caught on surveillance video.

Officers got a call about a burglary around roughly 3am, they witnessed 3 men loading merchandise into a van, at this point about 12 officers surrounded the building, they see the van ram through the garage door and the officers open fire. After the van came to a stop the video shows one officer reloading his gun approximately 8 seconds after the crash.

One officer was hit by the van with minor injuries.

The lawsuit is claiming that none of the men were armed and that the officers had no justifiable reason to use deadly force as the driver of the van was not attempting to hurt them.


It is important to know that the Chicago police department has had well over 100 complaints with regard to police misconduct and use of excessive force.

This is an interesting case because it’s difficult to truly determine if the men intended to ram into police or not. It is clear that they did not want to get caught, as the video shows when they drove through a closed garage door.

So on one hand you have two surviving burglars who were convicted of the crime saying that they were never going to use the van to run down a cop or two.

And on the other hand, you have a group of police who felt the need to open fire on what they considered a weapon on wheels.

Which by all rights, they had a right to after looking at the video…except that…you also have to consider the time of day the burglary happened. 

What is interesting about the suit is, if an innocent bystander had been hit and injured or killed while 12 police officers yelled for the driver to stop without ever opening fire, the public would be upset because police decided not to open fire.

But because it was so early in the AM, it was highly unlikely that an innocent bystander would have been injured, it would have been smarter to let the men drive away. Most shops and stores have insurance and police could have had a much different game plan, instead of shooting.

This perfectly illustrates the point of so many frustrated individuals across our nation in that police are, in certain cities and states, shooting first without a moment’s thought, and then asking questions later.

The time of day that the crime was committed made it highly unlikely that an innocent bystander would have been injured or killed therefore, was deadly force really and truly needed?

This case asks the one simple question, since when does common sense have to be written into police policy?

I am never one for the bad guy getting away but even when they do, they will usually break the law again, or get caught trying to pawn or sell stolen goods.

I am also not one to advocate the use of deadly force when common sense says it’s not needed.

I would much rather disappoint a shop owner with the news that the burglar got away than a family when I tell them that a son, brother, father or uncle were killed when over 70 bullets were fired into the a vehicle they were in by none other than the police.

The use of deadly force in some cases has become the norm rather than the exception. When you weigh in the time of day of this crime, the use of deadly force just doesn’t make sense.

Cristal M Clark

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