Not immediately paying for a drink at a bar cost a Harvey man two broken legs, the man claims in a recently-filed lawsuit seeking damages from the Cook County south suburb that has made headlines in recent years for having a high-crime and low-arrest rate, as well as alleged police and political misconduct.
Sandreano Green filed suit April 25 in Chicago's federal court against the City of Harvey; Mayor Eric Kellogg; Police Chief Denard Eaves; police officer Marcus Patterson; Larry's Lounge; bartender Tarina Williams; and unknown police and bar employees.
Green claims that about one year ago, he ordered his second drink at Larry's Lounge before realizing he didn't have the cash to pay for it. He claims he told the bartender his situation and waited with a security guard while his girlfriend went to get money.
It was then, the suit alleges, Harvey police arrived after bar employees had called for help.
Green contends two officers, including Patterson, questioned him and ordered him to put his hands behind his back. After a brief exchange about why he was being detained and whether he was being arrested, Green asserts he was knocked to the ground.
"As he lay on the ground, [Green] was hit repeatedly by Defendant Patterson and possibly by other Defendant Officers. Unarmed and defenseless, [Green] was beaten until he urinated on himself. He felt an agonizing pain in his legs, among other injuries," the suit states.
After the alleged beating, Green claims he was dragged to the squad car because he was unable to stand. Despite asking for medical attention, the suit states he was taken to the police station first.
Green asserts he was later taken by ambulance to the hospital, where it was discovered he had a broken right leg and a fractured left leg.
The suit states Green was charged with unlawful possession of a gun, battery, resisting arrest, theft of services and destruction of property. He claims police falsified the charges in order to justify their treatment and that the charges were eventually dropped.
Green contends his treatment by police wasn't the result of a few bad cops, but rather the result of systemic issues within the Harvey Police Department (HPD).
"Green’s injuries resulted directly from longstanding HPD policies and practices that facilitate and promote excessive force," his suit asserts. "These policies and practices include the inadequate hiring, training, discipline, and supervision of officers and the inadequate reporting, review, and investigation of use-of-force incidents."
To bolster his allegation, Green points to a report the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) released in 2012 following a multi-year investigation into the practices of the police department.
"Our overall assessment of HPD is that its system for reporting, reviewing, and investigating use of force is grossly inadequate," the suit cites the DOJ report as saying.
A few years earlier, a sting conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigations revealed some HPD officers were taking money to facilitate drug deals and other crimes, Green alleges in his complaint.
He also mentions in his suit that a recent Chicago Tribune investigation shows the department continues to employ officers accused of misconduct despite outside reports and audits suggesting policy changes.
Among other issues, the Tribune also reported that the city was spending over its budget, not paying its bills, taking on risky development projects and that its mayor had failed to properly disclose campaign contributions.
Green's complaint alleges excessive force, false arrest and unlawful detention, unlawful search and seizure, failure to intervene, denial of medical attention, conspiracy to deprive constitutional rights, assault and battery and malicious prosecution, among other counts.
Represented by Ruth Brown, Arthur Loevy, Jon Loevy and Russell Ainsworth of Loevy & Loevy in Chicago, Green is seeking compensatory and punitive damages, as well as attorneys' fees from the named defendants.
The case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge John Z. Lee, who earlier this month set an initial status hearing in the matter for June 19.