Family Members Push for Criminal Charges Against Police in Wrongful Death Case
Chicago, IL (Law Firm Newswire) March 8, 2013 – Family members are hoping for criminal charges in a wrongful death case.
Relatives of a man who died after being taken into custody by North Chicago police officers are pushing for criminal charges to be brought after a coroner ruled the death was a homicide.
Darrin “Dagwood” Hanna died a week after six police officers took him into custody on domestic violence charges in November of 2011.
Hanna's family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city of North Chicago, claiming that Hanna endured 20 minutes of shocks from a stun gun, although, according to the complaint, he was not resisting arrest.
“The death of this man after being taken into police custody is a tragic event,” said Robert Briskman, a Chicago wrongful death attorney, not involved in the case. “Whether the police officers acted improperly is something that will be decided through the legal process.”
The case received new attention recently when Dr. Thomas Rudd, the Lake County Coroner, announced that the manner of death had been changed to “homicide” from “undetermined.” The coroner determined that Hanna's sickle cell anemia was aggravated by blows from officers' fists and shocks from a stun gun.
Members of Hanna's large extended family, including his first cousin, State Representative Rita Wayfield, Democrat of Waukegan, have renewed their calls for criminal charges against the police officers involved in Hanna's arrest. Protests and rallies took place immediately after Hanna's death, prompting the Illinois State Police Integrity Unit to conduct a four-month-long investigation into the case.
In March 2012, Michael Waller, then the Lake County State's Attorney, determined that the officers' use of force to subdue Hanna was reasonable. The case forced North Chicago Police Chief Michael Newsome into early retirement and resulted in the disciplining of one officer and the firing of another.
Family members say they will continue to protest until criminal charges are filed against the officers involved.
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