By: Anthony Ponce and Ally Clark
February 4, 2012
The city of Chicago has agreed to pay $700,000 to settle a 2006 lawsuit filed by a South Side family alleging abuse and extortion from rouge police officers.
“We were constantly in fear. Every day. Barely sleeping at night,” said Plaintiff Sharon Wilkins. “They would rough us up, put us all in handcuffs, handcuff my old sick mother, threaten to put drugs on us, threaten to lock us up for life.”
The abuse happened in 2004, Officers Corey Flagg, Eural Black, Darek Haynes and Broderick Jones would go to the Wikins’ home twice a month around the time the family would receive their Social Security or work checks. The officers extorted the money with threats of arrests, according to the family attorney Blake Horwitz.
The Wilkins family was targeted because one family member, Larry Wilkins, had a criminal background with drugs known to the officers, said Horwitz.
Family members and friends who happened to be home when the officers came were and cuffed while being threatened with arrest and drug possession charges if they did not give them the cash, according to the lawsuit.
“They would say, ‘We’re going to arrest this guy (Larry Wilkins) today,” Horwitz said. “See these drugs, these drugs are going to be his. See this gun, this gun is going to be his.”
Horwitz says they estimate $8,000 to $12,000 was taken from the family within a one year time period.
In 2004, the family alleged they refused to pay one of the times which resulted in Flagg planting drugs on Wilkins and then arresting him. Wilkins was in jail for eight months before charges were dismissed.
All four officers were arrested in 2005. They were later convicted in a federal court and are currently serving their sentence in federal penitentiary.