No amount of money can make up for the abuse Philip Coleman went through in jail before he died. Still, Chicago has tentatively agreed to pay his family a $4.9 million settlement.
The 38-year-old man was arrested in 2012 after he assaulted his mother at her home during a mental health crisis.
While his death was caused by a deadly reaction to an antipsychotic drug, an autopsy uncovered an ugly truth.
Coleman suffered more than 50 bruises and abrasions to his body, from his head to lower legs. His family also said that police shocked him with a Taser 13 times at Roseland Community Hospital and beat him with a baton.
Video captured civilian detention aide Keith Kirkland using “brute force” on Coleman by dragging him out of his cell by his arms and down the station’s hallway while he was handcuffed.
Judge Matthew Kennelly ruled in December that no evidence showed authorities giving Coleman a chance to exit the cell on his own after sustaining multiple Taser shocks. Additionally, now-retired Sgt. Tommy Walker, who was on duty during the incident, did nothing to stop the abuse.
“Kirkland chose to use brute force when it was no longer necessary,” Kennelly wrote in his ruling. “Sgt. Walker conceded during his deposition that the officers could have stood Mr. Coleman up and told him to walk. … It is undisputed that Sgt. Walker could have ordered Kirkland not to drag, or to stop dragging, Mr. Coleman and that he chose not to do so.”
Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office has set up a briefing this week with aldermen to inform them of the settlement with Coleman’s family, which will be on next week’s Finance Committee agenda.
(Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images)