CHICAGO - A Rogers Park family is filing a Federal Civil Rights lawsuit against the Chicago Police Department, saying officers acted like criminals while serving a search warrant in their apartment.
Jasmine Vale says it happened just before midnight last February, as she and her 4-year-old daughter Leyalina, and the girl's 70-year-old grandmother were getting ready for bed.
Fifteen plain-clothed Chicago police officers smashed through the door of her Rogers Park apartment and drew guns on the family, ordering them to the floor.
“Anytime there’s a gun pointed at your head and the safety’s not on, you’re scared that somebody could accidentally shoot you,” said Vale.
According to the lawsuit filed by the family today, police had a search warrant for Vale’s ex-boyfriend, the little girl’s father, who had not lived in the home for months.
The lawsuit says officers tore the apartment apart, doing thousands of dollars worth of damage, even cutting open the little girl’s stuffed animals, finding nothing.
“This was another in a bad series of search warrants by Chicago police that has traumatized yet another innocent law abiding family,” said Al Hofelt Jr., the family’s attorney.
The lawsuit says police held the family at gunpoint for more than 10 minutes, refusing to give their names or badge numbers and violated department rules by not wearing body cameras.
Since that time, Vale says her daughter has developed emotional problems, refuses to be left alone and sleeps with her mother every night.
“A little bit of trauma goes a long way, and that can be something that destroys a child’s mind forever. And goes into the future with them as adults,” said Vale.