Sergio Herrera, a Chicago police officer, was accused in a 2010 lawsuit of teaming up with another officer to mace and beat a black man for no reason. The man was sitting in his parked car when Herrera’s colleague approached the vehicle. As the man went to retrieve his identification, the officer told him to “cuff up,” at which point Herrera entered the fray, spraying the man with mace according to the lawsuit. Both officers then allegedly proceeded to throw the man to the ground, strike him in the head with handcuffs, and dig their knees into his back. When the man asked for medical assistance, his pleas were ignored. Instead, the police took him to the station.
The lawsuit charges that the man’s ribs were fractured, and that he was left with permanent injuries as a result of the incident. The city of Chicago ended up paying the victim a settlement of $75,000, without admitting wrongdoing. Out-of-court settlements for civil rights violations are a common outcome for the department, which is plagued by lawsuits.
Now, Herrera has a new assignment: to be one of several officers who oversee the Chicago Police Department’s “implicit bias” trainings, a program intended to curb incidents of racist police violence.