An Illinois man claims three intoxicated, on-duty Chicago cops made racist comments and attacked him and his fiancée in a City Hall elevator, landing the man in jail on what was supposed to be his wedding day.
“On what should have been one of the happiest days of his life, plaintiff Joseph Baskins was instead subjected to a nightmare that would last three years,” according to a complaint filed Thursday in Chicago federal court by attorney Josh Loevy of Loevy & Loevy.
Baskins, his fiancée, and two friends, one of whom brought his baby, drove downtown to Chicago City Hall on Oct. 30, 2014 for the Baskinses to get married. All four are African-American.
When they arrived, the marriage office was closed for lunch, so they boarded the elevator to the parking garage along with three on-duty white Chicago police officers, the complaint states.
The officers were reportedly in the building to meet with city attorneys about a civil rights suit, and prior to that had been at a nearby bar where a receipt showed they drank eight beers and six vodkas, Baskins claims.
“After boarding the elevator, one of the defendant officers said words to Baskins to the effect of ‘you are on the wrong elevator,’ and referred to a ‘black nigger squad,’ and made other racist statements,” the complaint states.
Baskins claims Officer Patrick Gilmore then punched him in the mouth with provocation, and pulled a gun on him in the ensuing fight.
“Baskins next heard his friend scream words to the effect of, ‘it’s a gun! It’s a gun!’ Baskins’ friend then kicked the gun away from Defendant Gilmore,” Thursday’s 16-page complaint alleges. “Baskins looked down and saw the gun. Fearing for the lives of his family and friends if his assailants recovered the gun, he picked it up along with the baby and ran.”
Baskins later turned himself in, and was charged with aggravated robbery and aggravated assault on an officer. He says he was detained for two weeks.
The charges were dropped nearly three years later after Baskin refused to accept a plea deal, but he says the damage had already been done.
“As a result of defendants’ actions, Joseph Baskins lost his fiancée, his home, and had years of his life ruined by the shadow of these false allegations,” he claims.
Two of the officers involved are on administrative leave due to an investigation of the incident, while Gilmore remains on disability and claims not to remember any details of what happened before the fight. However, the city of Chicago found that he is responsible for his own medical bills for injuries stemming from the incident.
Baskins seeks compensatory and punitive damages for claims of malicious prosecution, conspiracy, violation of due process and emotional distress.
The city did not immediately respond Friday to a request for comment on the lawsuit.
Watch | Joseph Baskins tells his story
Top photo | Chicago police officers line up outside the District 1 central headquarters in Chicago, during a protest for the fatal police shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)
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