In 2006, a 21-year-old California woman, Christina Eilman, was picked up by Chicago Police for behaving erratically at Midway Airport. Eilman suffers from bipolar disorder.
Subsequently, Eilman, who is white, was released without wallet or cell phone into a predominantly black, gang-infested neighborhood where she was abducted, raped and thrown (or jumped) from a seventh floor window in a notorious public housing project. As a result of the fall, Eilman suffered permanent brain damage and other injuries that will require lifelong care.
Eilman's parents live in California, where she also lived at the time of the attack. They did not know why or how their daughter ended up in Chicago. Eilman's mother, as guardian for her disabled daughter, is suing the city and several individual officers involved.
The case is scheduled to go to trial next week. Tomorrow, the city council will consider a $22.5 million settlement proposed by the mayor's office. That's about $22 per Chicago household, not including the cost of six years of legal wrangling.
The details of the case are the stuff of nightmares for family members of the mentally ill.
After her arrest, Eilman's parents were in touch with CPD who were informed of Eilman's serious mental health problems. Initially the parents felt somewhat reassured that the police understood the situation and that they would see that Eilman would receive proper medical attention.
A superior instructed officers to transport Eilman to a hospital, but that did not happen. Officers claimed that no car was available to transport her, yet she was transported to lock-up at another police station several miles away. During the time Eilman was held at the first police station, other arrestees were transported to a hospital for medical treatment.
Inmates at the second police station testified that Eilman screamed and begged to be taken to a hospital, throwing herself against the cell bars for hours and smearing menstrual blood on the walls. Several alarmed inmates also urged officers to help her. According to the other inmates, Eilman's pleas were met with dismissals and ridicule, including racist ridicule.
As of the last activity in court, cases against several officers as individuals were going forward. Given all of the known circumstances, it's hard not to consider the possibility that Eilman's release into the high crime neighborhood was a very deliberate and depraved retaliatory act.Additional details.