Family files lawsuit after Chicago man dies in suburban police custody

A family is suing Oak Park and Forest Park after a 27-year-old man died in police custody last summer.

Dajuan Gates of Chicago told suburban police that he had health problems. It was recorded on bodycam video.

Video shows Gates surrounded by Oak Park and Forest Park police in August of 2020. It started with him running a stop sign. After 21 minutes in handcuffs, Gates died. He left behind five children.

Now, the mother of some of the children has filed a civil lawsuit against both police departments. Attorneys say that in several videos, Gates told police he needed help as he struggled to breathe. He was having complications from being high on PCP.


In the background of a dashcam video, you can see Rush Oak Park Hospital’s emergency room department. At one point, attorneys say Gates was in a squad car in the ambulance bay of the ER department and no medical aid was ever rendered.

By the time paramedics got to him, Gates was brain dead.

"We have medical experts who are gonna explain that what really caused Dajuan's death is hyperthermia, which is the overheating of his body. And that was brought on by the fact that he had been smoking PCP, combined with the agitation of being put in handcuffs, caused everything to overheat, and that cause multi-organ failure," said attorney Dan Kotin.

"I could tell that he needed help, right away. And to know that there were so many officers, humans alone that could help a person, that have a heart, and they didn't, it's unbelievable," said Tenell Coleman, the mother of Gates’ children.

Oak Park says they are not aware of the lawsuit. Forest Park says they have not been served yet and have not received the report from Illinois State Police on the case.

Both police departments would not comment further.