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Woman claiming excessive force sues city, police officer

Updated: March 14, 2013 2:32AM

A woman filed a federal excessive-force lawsuit against a Chicago Police commander who has been sued by civilians numerous times. She claimed that he pushed his fist into her nose until she bled at an Auburn Gresham police station after she was arrested after a domestic disturbance in 2011.

Rita King claims she was handcuffed and taken to the Gresham District police station April 10, 2011, after police responded to a domestic disturbance at her home.

King was questioned but refused to be fingerprinted. That’s when the male Chicago Police Deparmtent member entered the room, ordered other officers to restrain her and began to “violently press his fist” into her nose, she claims in a suit filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court.

He kept pushing for roughly three to five minutes, telling her multiple times he was going to “push [her] nose through [her] brain,” according to King, who claims she started bleeding profusely and was in “excruciating pain.”

King was fingerprinted and released, but she claims police denied her medical attention. She passed out one block from the police station, where a friend picked her up and took her to a local hospital for treatment of a facial fracture, the suit says.

The officer listed as a defendant in Wednesday’s lawsuit has since been promoted to commander of a South Side district. The city has settled at least two other times for alleged misconduct.

Rennie Simmons, an employee for the city’s Water Department, sued the same the same Chicago Police Department member, along with the city and three other police officers in 2007, federal court records show. Simmons claimed the then-lieutenant beat him when Simmons tried to post a water shut-off notice to his house and falsely accused him of battery to cover it up.

Another man, Cordell Simmons, who is apparently unrelated to Rennie Simmons, sued the defendant in Wednesday’s case in 2008, along with two other officers. He claimed the former lieutenant used a Taser on his genitals at the Gresham District station after he was arrested on drug charges.

Both suits settled before reaching trial, court records show. The terms of those settlements were not immediately available Wednesday night.

A city Law Department spokesman said he had not yet seen Wednesday’s suit and could not comment. He also could not immediatley provide informaiton on the other suits late Wednesday.

King — as well as the previous two plaintiffs — accuses Chicago Police officials of carrying on a “code of silence” that shields police from punishment when citizens make accusations of misconduct against officers.

“This de facto policy encourages Chicago Police officers to engage in misconduct with impunity and without fear of official consequences,” the suit says.

King says she complained to the police department’s Office of Professional standards about the encounter. An investigator photographed her injuries, but she has yet to hear back about the results of the investigation, the suit says.

Wednesday’s lawsuit also names the city of Chicago as a defendant, and claims violations of King’s constitutional rights. It seeks an unspecified amount in compensatory and punitive damages.

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