Man Falsely Accused by Police Awarded $1M
A Chicago barber who was falsely accused of assaulting a police officer and thrown in jail for over a year has won a $1 million jury verdict seven years after his ordeal.
John Collins was getting a ride home from a friend after a day of cutting hair in January 2006 when police pulled up behind them with their lights flashing.
Police proceeded to arrest Collins for no apparent reason and then slapped him around when he wouldn’t stop asking why he was being arrested, according to Collins’ attorney, Lawrence Jackowiak.
Police later claimed they arrested Collins because he was seen drinking in a public way and claimed he was aggressive toward them.
They charged him with aggravated battery to a police officer, but a jury acquitted him of all criminal charges.
Collins sued the city for false arrest, claiming he suffered emotional distress while in jail for 385 days and had to sleep on the floor because of overcrowding.
The jury awarded $1 million in damages to Collins, 42, who said the lawsuit was about justice, not money.
During the time he was falsely imprisoned, his first son was born and after he was released he separated from his fiancee who said he had become a different person while in jail.
Collins said he will use part of the money to create a transportation system for people to visit family members in jail.
“You’ve got to climb a high mountain when you’re challenging police authority and alleging police misconduct,” Collins said after the verdict. “I felt like a right in a pool of wrong. And I didn’t want to swim in the pool no more, but I didn’t want to drown either.”