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Victim of botched Chicago police raid in 2017 expected to get $300,000 settlement

2023-09-28
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CHICAGO (CBS) -- Chicago taxpayers could soon be shelling out $300,000 to settle a lawsuit accusing Chicago police of raiding the wrong home in the winter of 2017 while searching for gang members and guns, forcing an innocent woman out into the cold in only her pajamas. The City Council Finance Committee on Monday is set to approve that settlement with Sharnia Phillips, who told the CBS 2 Investigators how a SWAT team burst through her door in January 2017, coming close to injuring her as she tried to let them in. Phillips was in her bed when she heard a loud bang. As she was about to open the door, police officers burst through the home and threw a flash bang grenade. "They used a tank, rammed the door," said Phillips. "If I would have stepped over one inch, I would have been right behind that door." She says police also used a flashbang grenade, and tore through her place looking for a stash of assault rifles with laser scopes. What they found was a .38 caliber Ruger. Phillips' attorney, Peter Cantwell, says had she been holding her gun, she could have been shot. "Thank God she didn't bring her pistol down," said Cantwell. "So this is just irresponsible. It's reckless and its reckless disregard." According to Phillips' lawsuit, officers handcuffed her, removed her from the home and forced her to stand outside in the cold while they searched the property. They were looking for firearms and two gang members who did not live there. Her lawsuit claimed police were searching for the grandchildren of her former tenant, who had not lived at the home in at least six months. The tenants grandchildren had never lived at the home. The lawsuit also claimed police had her home under surveillance the entire day before the raid, and she was the only person seen entering or exiting the home. And, as part of a troubling pattern the CBS 2 Investigators uncovered in years of botched raids, officers and supervisors apparently failed to follow department rules during the raid. Phillips said police refused to tell her why they were raiding her home, and officers waited until they were done searching before ever turning over the warrant. "They never show me a warrant until after two hours," said Sharnia Phillips. The final indignity to Phillips was police went above and beyond to treat her badly - even denying her proper clothing. Phillips said police forced her outside in 30-degree weather in her pajamas. If the Finance Committee backs the $300,000 settlement with Phillips on Monday, the full City Council could vote on the payment on Wednesday.

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