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Family Of Irene Chavez Files Lawsuit After She Died In Police Custody Following Arrest At Jeffery Pub In South Shore

CHICAGO (CBS) -- The family of a woman who died in police custody recently is suing the city and the officers involved in her arrest.

Irene Chavez, 33, was arrested on allegations of battery at the Jeffery Pub, at 7401 S. Jeffery Blvd. in South Shore, in the early-morning hours on Saturday, Dec. 18.

Just before 3:30 a.m. that morning, police said in December that Chavez attempted suicide inside the Grand Crossing (3rd) District station, and died at the hospital several hours later.

Her family said officers should have taken her to a hospital, not jail, after she told them she was an Army veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder.

"It was a whole lot more than I could ever be angry, but hurt," said Chavez's sister Iris Chavez. It rushes like a volcano. You're never really ready for it."

Chavez's arrest is documented on multiple bodycam videos released by COPA. Officers arrive at the Jeffery Pub to find a man complaining that a woman has brought her own beers with her and became irate when she couldn't play the jukebox because there was a DJ that night. The man says the woman was later asked to leave the bar, at which point she swung at a security guard and hit him, and then spat in the man's face after she was handcuffed while staff waited for police to arrive.

Later when Chavez is arrested, she is heard saying she acted in self-defense and becomes belligerent – yelling expletives at an officer who yells an expletive back at one point.

Once Chavez is at the police station, the video shows paper covering the windows of the holding cell in which Chavez was being held, blocking officers' view.

Officers did try to resuscitate Chavez. The Chicago Police Department is not commenting on the lawsuit.

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