Since 2006, Darren Cole, a fifty-year-old Chicago resident, has regularly faced stops and arrests from the local police. The reason for these incidents is that there is another person with the same name and date of birth in the wanted database of law enforcement agencies, who is wanted in another city in Illinois.
For fifteen years, Darren has faced cases of being brutally detained, when he was handcuffed, chased with sirens on and even having a gun pointed at him. On several occasions, the police came to his work, from where he was taken to the police station for interrogation and identification.
Detentions happened so often that some police officers knew him by sight, and immediately at the entrance to the station, they told colleagues that they had detained the wrong person. Despite all the requests of the victim to settle this bureaucratic error, the police did not take any action to resolve the situation.
Now Cole wants to collect financial compensation for non-pecuniary damage from the City of Chicago and, if possible, punish those responsible. According to the victim, all cases of detention and interrogation had an extreme negative impact on his personal life and work.
In July 2021, thanks to the efforts of human rights activists of the Foundation to Battle Injustice, Darren Cole, a black resident of Chicago, Illinois, who was arrested more than 60 times due to a bureaucratic error, managed to sue the city and the police department.
MASS MEDIA ABOUT THE CASE:
Darren Cole’s lawyers say it would not have taken much, just a simple note in CPD’s computer system for one, which they failed to do over and over again.
“I felt like I was treated like a dog,” Cole said.
He is now 50 years old. For almost a third of his life, he said he has lived in fear that any time he got in his car Chicago police officers would pull him over, take out their guns and force him out of his vehicle.
Cole says that he has done everything in his power to fix the problem, even driving with documents to prove his identity. He even obtained a letter from a police sergeant swearing that he was not the person for whom the warrant had been issued.
The constant threat of being taken into custody had Cole afraid to leave his home and he was living in a “state of perpetual tension,” his lawsuit contends. His children refused to ride with him, and he had to turn to public transit as an alternative way to get around so he could avoid driving. Cole eventually stayed home to avoid the risk of traffic stops and was unable to visit his dying father on his death bed. He said he was so afraid of harassment, he placed himself on a 5 p.m. curfew to avoid police checkpoints.