Posted on January 31, 2022

Aldermen Reject $125,000 Settlement for Woman Whose Son Was Fatally Shot by Chicago Police After He Stabbed Officer

John Byrne, Chicago Tribune, January 25, 2022

Aldermen took the rare stance this week of refusing to pay a negotiated settlement in a lawsuit related to police conduct — in this case to a woman whose son was shot and killed by officers after she called 911 because he was threatening her with a knife.

The City Council Finance Committee deadlocked 13-13 Monday on the proposed $125,000 settlement for Lenora Bonds, meaning the Finance Committee will report to the full City Council that it should not approve the deal Wednesday.

Bonds argued in her suit that the Police Department’s crisis intervention team training was inadequate, city lawyer Victoria Benson told aldermen, and if they had been better prepared, the situation could have been handled without her son, Terrance Harris, winding up dead.

Police shot Harris 29 times, Benson said.

But several aldermen said it sounded like the responding officers did their best in a difficult situation.

Four officers went to Bonds’ home in October 2013 after she called 911 and said Harris was off his medication and threatening her with a knife, Benson said Monday. Harris opened the door and stabbed a sergeant, who had received crisis intervention training, in the face before retreating into the home and locking the door.

Three other officers eventually got in the house, where they said Harris lunged at them with two knives in the basement. All three officers opened fire on Harris, Benson said.

“So there was a CIT officer. He was stabbed in the face,” Southwest Side Ald. Silvana Tabares said Monday. “This is a justified but unfortunate situation. Settling sends a bad message to police officers when they have to make these split-second decisions.”