Tag: Officer Michael Babicz

Bellwood Woman Alleging Police Abuse Sues Maywood, Could Settle for $68K

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Thursday, July 27, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

During a July 18 regular meeting, the Maywood Board of Trustees considered voting to approve a $67,500 settlement agreement stemming from a lawsuit filed by a woman who alleges that she was abused by Maywood police during a 2014 traffic stop.

Continue reading “Bellwood Woman Alleging Police Abuse Sues Maywood, Could Settle for $68K”

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Maywood Approves $200K Settlement After Lawsuit Filed By Family of Xavier McCord, Killed by Police in 2012

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December 28, 2016 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews || Updated: 10:17 p.m.

During a Dec. 20 regular meeting, the Maywood Board of Trustees voted to approve a resolution authorizing the payment of $200,000 in settlement funds stemming from a lawsuit filed against the Village of Maywood by Erica Williams, the mother of Xavier McCord.

McCord, 20, was killed on Nov. 8, 2012, by Maywood Police Officer Michael Babicz, who along with his partner, Officer Kyle Rice, and Officer Pete Schleich, are named as co-defendants in the civil suit.

According to federal court documents dating back to September, Judge John Lee eventually dismissed Rice and Schleich as defendants in the case.

According to court documents, Babicz and Rice were partners on Nov. 8. At around 4:30 p.m., “they were passing the parking lot behind” an apartment building on the 1800 block of South 19th Ave. when they saw McCord “walking away from the building looking down at his phone.”

When McCord looked up from his phone and in the officers’ direction, he “immediately turned around to enter the apartment building through the rear door.”

Rice and Babicz then followed McCord “to conduct a field interview” of the young man “because of his ‘suspicious’ conduct.”

“The officers do not claim that they had probable cause to justify an arrest or reasonable suspicion to justify detaining McCord temporarily,” court documents show. “Nevertheless, Babicz and Rice decided to follow him into the apartment building.”

According to some Maywood officers who were on the scene, Babicz and Rice went into the building with their guns drawn (“or drew them quickly after entering”), passed by a crowd of people in the building’s stairwell and began running after McCord, “ignoring everyone else.”

According to Babicz’s testimony, he saw a “chrome handgun in McCord’s right hand as he followed him up the stairs.” Babicz testified that McCord turned around and raised the gun “up a little bit.” After ordering him to drop the gun, Babicz testified that he “fired two rounds at” McCord, who fell to the floor.

Rice testified that he saw “a chrome plated semiautomatic handgun … bounce down the stairs” and drop on the landing before contacting dispatch to “report the shooting while Babicz handcuffed McCord.”

According to Schleich, Rice exited the building with the gun before re-entering the building to put the gun back on the landing. Schleich later testified that “it was improper for Rice to remove the gun from the scene; however, Schleich confirmed that the gun he saw Rice bring into the building matched the gun Schleich had seen on the stairs when he first arrived.”

After investigating the shooting, officials with the Illinois State Police Public Integrity Unit found that the “gun had been removed and replaced” and that “no fingerprints from were obtained from the gun, and the gun could not be tied to McCord forensically in any manner.”

After the state police investigated the shooting, the case was “turned over to the Cook County State’s Attorney, who declined to file criminal charges against Babicz.”

McCord’s mother has insisted that he didn’t have a gun, although, court records show, McCord’s friends, Keontac McKinney and James Bickhem, “could not testify with absolute certainty that McCord did not have a gun.”

However, McKinney said in his deposition that, if McCord had a gun, he would have told him so and Bickhem said that, after wrestling with McCord earlier that day, he didn’t feel a gun on his friend’s person.

In addition, court records show, a resident of the building testified that “soon after the shooting” she saw from her bedroom window “a confrontation between two officers” during which one officer asked, “‘Why did you shoot, you know, we had the building surrounded, he couldn’t go anywhere.'”

The resident added that the confrontation between the officers “almost really got physical” and that a third officer had to intercede.

Maywood Trustee Isiah Brandon abstained from the vote to approve the settlement payment because, Brandon said, he knew McCord and his family. Brandon also said that he was at the scene of the shooting shortly after it happened.

This is at least the third police misconduct settlement the village board has approved in the last six months.

In July, the village board approved a $7,500 settlement with Derrick Neal Lewis, who filed a civil rights complaint in 2014. Lewis claimed that he was beaten by Maywood police officers during an arrest in 2013. Officers Babicz and Rice are named in this suit as well.

And in September, the board approved a $35,000 settlement agreement in relation to a man who claimed that he was unlawfully beaten and tased multiple times by Maywood police in 2014 after filming an officer with his camera phone. Officer Babicz is also named in this suit.

At the Dec. 20 meeting, the board also approved $22,000 settlement agreement in relation to a federal civil rights lawsuit filed by the mother of a minor. Documents relating to that case are not readily available. VFP

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Maywood Approves $35K Police Misconduct Settlement

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A screenshot of the complaint filed by Derion Young against three Maywood police officers last year. 

Thursday, September 22, 2016 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews || UPDATED: 9/23/16

At a Sept. 20 regular meeting, the Maywood Board of Trustees approved a $35,000 settlement agreement related to a federal complaint alleging police misconduct.

Last year, Derion Young filed a federal complaint against Maywood Police Officers Michael Babicz, George Rangel, Patrick Reilly in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois Eastern Division.

Young claimed that on July 10, 2014, he was confronted by Maywood police officers for filming an officer with his camera phone.

According to the complaint, Young was eventually arrested unlawfully, beaten and “tased multiple times” despite Young having not violated any “laws, rules or ordinances” and there being “no probable cause or legal justification” for his arrest.

The lawsuit Young subsequently filed contains one count of excessive force, one count of false arrest, one count of first amendment violations, one count of failure to intervene, one state law claim of battery, one state law claim of battery/false imprisonment and one state law claim of malicious prosecution against all three officers.

It also includes a state law claim of indemnification, which makes the Village of Maywood liable for the officers’ alleged actions. The village has denied liability for Young’s claims.

Young’s complaint notes that, as a “direct and proximate result of the [officers’ actions, the plaintiff] was injured, suffered emotional anxiety, mental trauma, humiliation, fear, stress, pain and suffering, and other damages.”

Young had initially demanded $65,000 to settle the case, according to a Sept. 14 village memo.

In July, the village was ready to settle up to $40,000. After negotiations between the village and Young’s attorneys, the settlement amount was reduced to $35,000.

This is the second police misconduct settlement the village board has approved in the last three months.

In July, the village board approved a $7,500 settlement with Derrick Neal Lewis, who filed a civil rights complaint in 2014. Lewis claimed that he was beaten by Maywood police officers during an arrest in 2013. Officer Babicz is named in that case as well, along with Maywood Police Officer Kyle Rice.

Maywood Trustee Michael Rogers said that the village board has sought ways to prevent police-related complaints, which the trustee said “get very, very expensive.”

“We’re not the only ones with this problem,” Rogers said in a recent interview. “Look at Chicago and other places. Whether you win or not, you’ve got to spend a lot of money.”

Rogers said prevention mostly has to do with training and documentation.

“You can’t just fire somebody on the spot, you have to write them up three and four times,” Rogers said. “You have to have a record of documentation. And it has to be more than just verbal warnings.

“You have to sit you department heads and managers down and have them understand that documentation has to be produced. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It will save us millions potentially.” VFP

The 2015 federal complaint filed by Derion Young against three Maywood police officers:

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Maywood Pays Out Nearly $20K for Police Abuse-, Labor-related Complaints

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A screenshot of a federal civil rights complaint filed by Maywood resident Derrick Neal Lewis in 2014. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2016 || By Michael Romain 

The Maywood Board of Trustees recently approved two separate employee-related payments — one involving an allegation of police abuse by Maywood officers and another involving a village employee who contested his termination and the denial of extended sick leave pay. The two payments add up to around $20,000.

The police abuse settlement stems from a civil rights complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District by Derrick Neal Lewis in 2014 against Maywood Police Officers Michael Babicz and Kyle Rice.

Lewis, of Maywood, claimed that on Nov. 4, 2013, he was beaten by the officers and charged with possession of a controlled substance and unlawful use of a weapon.

“I was taken to Westlake hospital to receive stitches as well as X-rays to my back which [sic] was injured during my arrest,” Lewis wrote in the complaint, in which he adds that he was taken to the hospital twice because of “constant head aches and back pain.”

“I was not charged with fleeing or resisting arrest,” Lewis wrote, adding that there were more officers involved in the abuse whose names he couldn’t retrieve.

According to a June 2016 village memo, Lewis had initially demanded $100,000 to settle the case. The village denied any liability. A magistrate judge lowered Lewis’ demand to $7,500 during a settlement conference in May. The lowered settlement amount was unanimously approved by the Maywood Board of Trustees at a July 26 regular meeting.

The agreement isn’t considered an admission or evidence of wrongdoing. At the time Lewis filed his federal complaint, he was incarcerated in the Cook County Jail.

Former village employee gets $12K in extended sick leave back pay

At the July 26 regular meeting, the village board also authorized an arbitration order, which paid $12,000 to Crawford Barbee, a former village parking supervisor who contested the conditions of his termination and the village’s alleged denial of extended sick leave pay.

According to an April 2016 village memo, Barbee had a history of “serious medical issues that have resulted in numerous absences from work.”

In November 2014, the memo states, Barbee “had been and was unable to work for serious medical reasons.” His request for extended sick leave was unfulfilled by the village’s HR coordinator at the time because Barbee wouldn’t provide the required medical documentation.

Barbee allegedly “yelled” at the HR coordinator, claiming the village already knew about his health issues and already had sufficient medical documentation on hand.

He was terminated shortly afterward for “not providing necessary documentation and not returning to work.”

According to the arbitration order, the village upheld Barbee’s termination, required him to withdraw his complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and paid him $12,000, the amount of his extended sick leave pay. VFP

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