Daily file photo of Daniel Tian
City council approved a $ 90,000 settlement Monday to end a class action lawsuit against Evanston Police Department chief Demitrous Cook after publicly disclosing several residents’ private information last February.
The lawsuit alleged that Cook’s actions violated plaintiffs’ rights to due process and equal protection and were the result of a lawsuit incident Here, Cook has uploaded booking photos of over 30 people to his public Snapchat story. The photos contained the subjects’ private information, including full names, dates of birth, and home addresses, as well as written notes such as “in custody,” “HIV,” and “DOA” (dead on arrival).
The lawsuit, filed in May 2020, alleged that Cook, and thus the city, violated plaintiffs’ 14th right of amendment to due process by publicly disclosing their home addresses. It was also alleged that plaintiffs’ right to equal protection had been violated as only photos of non-whites were uploaded.
“Although white people have committed criminal acts in the city of Evanston, the Defendant Cook has not publicly disclosed booking photos and personal information of white civilians,” the said complaint read. “By treating minority civilians differently and Caucasian civilians, Defendant Cook violated plaintiffs’ rights under the Fourteenth Amendment to Equal Protection.”
cook he apologized for his posts days after they were published, saying the posts were accidental and he had intended to save the photos on his device.
The court dismiss Some of the October 12th claims, including due process, which found plaintiffs had suffered no harm from Cook’s actions.
In response, due process entitlement was changed two days later to include certain claims for damages, including plaintiffs who sustained gunshot wounds and damage to their homes from bullet holes. The amended claim alleged that the shootings were a direct result of Cook’s publication of the plaintiffs’ addresses.
Court records show that the parties began work on the council-approved settlement for $ 90,000 in December. The settlement covers all claims and legal fees and ends the class action lawsuit.
The deal was 7-1, with Ald. Tom Suffredin (6th) as the only dissenting vote. He expressed his frustration with the suit during the discussion.
“It cost the city over $ 130,000 at the time,” Suffredin said. “As far as I can tell, the employee responsible has not taken on any accountability.”
A separate lawsuit against Cook has not yet been finalized. Resident Kevin Logan filed a separate lawsuit last February seeking damages for the publication of his booking photo with the note “HIV” next to it. Logan tested negative for HIV on February 22nd, alleging the memo violated his 14th right to amend due process by posting private medical information.
Logan’s lawsuit is currently in the preparatory phase and a status hearing is scheduled for June 6th.
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– – The Evanston Police Chief apologizes for posting mug shot and other confidential information on Snapchat
– – Resident files lawsuit against Cook, EPD after Snapchat posts
– – Some claims in the lawsuit against the city, Police Chief Demitrous Cook, dismissed