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Champaign settles 2 lawsuits against police for $3.7M

September 5, 2018

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — An Illinois city has settled two lawsuits accusing police of wrongdoing for a combined $3.7 million.

The Champaign City Council approved the settlements Tuesday, with the bulk of the funds going to Teshome Campbell, the News-Gazette reported .

Campbell sued the city and six officers, alleging he was wrongfully incarcerated for nearly 18 years in connection with the 1997 killing of James Shephard. Campbell’s murder conviction was vacated and he was released from prison in 2016. He is receiving a $3.5 million settlement, which will be handled by insurance.

The council also approved a $220,000 settlement for Alton Corey, who sued the city and two officers for use of force when police visited his apartment complex last year for a domestic dispute. The payout will come from the city’s retained-risk fund.

Clarissa Nickerson Fourman was the only council member to vote down both settlements.

“I’m tired of setting a pattern that if you have an issue with the police, that then you sue,” she said. “We have people in our community living in squalor, and we’re just going to drop $3.7 million? I don’t think so.”

Altogether, the city is responsible for $470,000, with the remaining $250,000 going toward attorney fees.

Both agreements said the city doesn’t admit any liability or wrongdoing and have been made solely to avoid litigation.

“This is not a reflection on the officers,” Councilman Greg Stock said. “The idea that this is somehow reflective of their conduct is wrong. ... This is a business decision because our liability is too high.”

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Information from: The News-Gazette, http://www.news-gazette.com

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