Illinois city to pay $12 million to family after boy was shot in kneecap by SWAT

The city of Richton Park, Illinois, will pay $12 million to settle a lawsuit stemming from a 2019 SWAT raid in which a police officer shot a 12-year-old boy in the kneecapthe lawyer of the boy’s family announced today.

A federal civil rights lawsuit filed by Crystal Worship on behalf of her son, Amir, alleges that SWAT members from the Country Club Hills and Richton Park Police Departments burst into their home on the night of May 26, 2019, throwing stun guns and taking the family into custody. , including Amir and his 13-year-old brother, in the crosshairs.

According to the lawsuit, Richton Park Police Officer Caleb Blood shot Worship in his bedroom after the room was secured and “long after it was apparent that the 12-year-old child posed no threat.”

“In fact, 12-year-old Amir was shot, shot while sitting on the edge of the bed with his hands up,” the lawsuit said. “The officer shot him with his assault rifle, hitting him in the knee and shattering his kneecap. At that point, this officer pointed his rifle directly at the shirtless Amir as he sat on the edge of his brother’s bed.”

Officers were executing a narcotics search warrant for Worship’s boyfriend, Mitchell Thurman, who was later arrested for illegal gun and drug possession. However, the case against Thurman was later dismissed.

According to a press release from the law office of Al Hofeld Jr., who represented the Worship family, the settlement will also include a public apology from Richton Park, a private apology from Blood, as well as retraining and recertification for Blood.

However, several internal investigations failed to find any misconduct related to the shooting. Hofeld said the Worship family will urge the Cook County State’s Attorney to reopen the investigation and charge Blood.

“Officer Blood has yet to be held accountable by any agency. He has never been disciplined or even removed from the street,” Hofeld said in a press release. “You can’t just shoot a 12-year-old kid for literally no reason and do it with complete impunity.”

The settlement is the latest in a series of costly payouts to Chicago-area lawsuits stemming from botched SWAT raids. Hofeld represented 11 families who say police pointed guns at their children.

An investigation by local news outlet CBS 2 found that Chicago SWAT officers often rely on unverified search warrants to search homes; keep families, including children, in the crosshairs; and, in one case, to handcuff an 8-year-old child. In another case, 17 Chicago police officers burst into a family home with guns drawn during a 4-year-old’s birthday party. Members of a Chicago family say police raided their home three times in four months looking for someone the residents say they don’t know.

In 2018, Chicago settled another civil lawsuit by a family that claimed CPD officers broke into their home and pointed a gun at a 3-year-old girl because 2.5 million dollars.

And in 2020, the Chicago Police Department made national headlines after body camera footage showed officers humiliation of a naked woman during a raid on the wrong door. Chicago police raided Anjanette Young’s apartment on a false tip and handcuffed her while she was naked, forcing her to stand in full view of male officers as they searched her home.

Responding to the outrage over Young’s case, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced a new search warrant policy for the Chicago Police Department. The city eventually settled the lawsuit filed by Young for $2.9 million.

As for Amir Worship: According to Hofeld’s office, he has undergone five surgeries, along with extensive physical therapy. He will likely need multiple knee replacements throughout his life and will never play sports again.

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