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Victim of botched Chicago police raid in 2017 to get $300,000 settlement

$300,000 settlement approved for victim of botched Chicago police raid
$300,000 settlement approved for victim of botched Chicago police raid 00:38

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Chicago taxpayers will soon be shelling out $300,000 to settle a lawsuit accusing Chicago police of raiding the wrong home in the winter of 2017 while searching for gang members and guns, forcing an innocent woman out into the cold in only her pajamas.

The City Council Finance Committee on Monday unanimously approved that settlement with Sharnia Phillips, who told the CBS 2 Investigators how a SWAT team burst through her door in January 2017, coming close to injuring her as she tried to let them in.

Phillips was in her bed when she heard a loud bang. As she was about to open the door, police officers burst through the home and threw a flash bang grenade.

"They used a tank, rammed the door," said Phillips. "If I would have stepped over one inch, I would have been right behind that door."

She says police also used a flashbang grenade, and tore through her place looking for a stash of assault rifles with laser scopes. What they found was a .38 caliber Ruger.

"Which I had a license to have," said Phillips.

She used it for her job as a parole officer.

Phillips' attorney, Peter Cantwell, says had she been holding her gun, she could have been shot.

"Thank God she didn't bring her pistol down," said Cantwell. "So this is just irresponsible. It's reckless and its reckless disregard."

According to Phillips' lawsuit, officers handcuffed her, removed her from the home and forced her to stand outside in the cold while they searched the property.

They were looking for firearms and two gang members who did not live there.

Her lawsuit claimed police were searching for the grandchildren of her former tenant, who had not lived at the home in at least six months. The tenant's grandchildren had never lived at the home.

The lawsuit also claimed police had her home under surveillance the entire day before the raid, and she was the only person seen entering or exiting the home.

And, as part of a troubling pattern the CBS 2 Investigators uncovered in years of botched raids, officers and supervisors apparently failed to follow department rules during the raid.

Phillips said police refused to tell her why they were raiding her home, and officers waited until they were done searching before ever turning over the warrant.

"They never show me a warrant until after two hours," said Sharnia Phillips.

The final indignity to Phillips was police went above and beyond to treat her badly - even denying her proper clothing. Phillips said police forced her outside in 30-degree weather in her pajamas.

Phillips declined comment on the settlement agreement.  

In other business on Monday, the Finance Committee on Monday approved a $750,000 settlement with David Holian, who was seriously injured in a crash with a Chicago police squad car on Oct. 15, 2019.

City attorneys told the committee that Holian had the right of way when the squad car hit him at the intersection of Springfield Avenue and Jackson Boulevard, as the officer was responding to a call of a man with a gun.

Although the officer stopped at the stop sign at the intersection, he believed he had time to make it through the intersection before Holian, but ended up T-boning his car. City attorney said the officer had not activated his squad car's siren, but insisted he had activated his lights and air horn.

However, Holian disputed that the officer had used either his emergency lights or air horn, and a witness to the crash said she never heard a horn. There was no dashboard camera video of the crash.

Holian suffered a herniated disc and a permanent spinal cord injury as a result of the crash, and still has back pain and difficulty walking.

Both the settlement with Holian and the settlement with Phillips now go to the full City Council for final approval on Wednesday.

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