On Wednesday, Chicago's City Council approved a $2.5 million settlement for a girl and her family who filed an excessive-force lawsuit against the police department for pointing a gun at the child’s chest.
Back in 2013, the Chicago Police Department raided the home where 3-year-old Davianna Simmons lived with her mother, Aretha Simmons, and her grandmother.
During the search, officers pointed a loaded gun at Davianna's chest as she hysterically cried in fear. The 3-year-old cowered as she watched officers hold a gun to her grandmother's head and push her handcuffed mother into a wall.
The entire ordeal occurred after an informant lied to police and told them drug dealer Alonzo McFadden had connections with the Simmons family. On the warrant for McFadden’s arrest, his address was listed as the Simmons' house, even though he never lived there, and the family had never met him.
The trauma experienced by the family, especially Davianna who is now 8 years old, still lingers. Davianna, who still fears sirens and often wakes up screaming, experienced “one of the worst cases of child post-traumatic stress disorder” Rush Medical Center pediatric psychiatrist Dr. Niranjan Karnik has ever seen, according to the doctor.
The family filed a lawsuit in November 2014 for the totally unnecessary and unjust search.
A 2017 Justice Department report sharply criticized Chicago police for too often using excessive force, including against children. During the city council's finance committee meeting to approve the settlement, a city lawyer told the committee that Davianna remains traumatized and will likely require psychiatric treatment into adulthood.
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