Chicago family files federal lawsuit against city for wrongful raid

Mother says that her sons are not only afraid of the police, but show signs of PTSD

A Chicago mother has become the latest to sue the city of Chicago, alleging police officers wrongfully raided her house back in 2015.

Chicago Police Department
Chicago Police Shield. Several civil rights organizations have filed a federal lawsuit against the city of Chicago seeking federal oversight of changes in the Chicago Police Department following repeated accusations of civil rights violations by officers in the department. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

A Chicago mother has become the latest to sue the city of Chicago, alleging police officers wrongfully raided her house back in 2015.

The federal lawsuit was filed Tuesday by attorney Al Hofeld Jr. on behalf of Jalonda Blassingame and her three sons, Jaden Fields, Jeremy Harris, and Justin Harris. In the suit, Blassingame blasts the officers for refusing to listen to her claims that they were raiding the wrong home and pointing their guns at her sons.

According to CBS 2, Blassingame alleges that this incident not only traumatized the boys, but has them still leery of police four years later.

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Turns out, the raid was erroneous.

Derec Bell, the man whom police were searching for based on a tip by a confidential informant, was not selling heroin from Blassingame’s home. Instead, he was already in jail some 200 miles away, and had been there for six years.

Hofeld said Blassingame waited to file a lawsuit because she initially gave officers the benefit of the doubt, believing they made an innocent mistake. But then she learned that the Chicago police department had a history of wrongful raids in Black and Brown communities, and realized like many others, her constitutional rights had been trampled on.

“These raids, these wrong raids, have been going on for decades in Chicago’s communities of color, and people have just accepted them as a fact of life,” Hofeld told CBS 2.

At the time of the raid, Blassingame said her sons were ages 10, 6 and 4. She said after police broke into her home, they forced everyone, including a cousin, to lie down on the kitchen floor and held them there at gunpoint for three hours.

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“I felt like, the way they was screaming and everything, if any sudden movements … I really thought they was going to shoot one of the kids by mistake, because the guns were so close to them and to me,” Blassingame told CBS 2.

Although she told officers many times that they were making a mistake, Hofeld said police proceeded to raid her house – damaging items, breaking toys and destroying other valuables. In the lawsuit, Blassingame is also accusing the officers of stealing her jewelry.

“They shouted profanity, and used abusive and dehumanizing language towards the boys and their mother throughout the raid,” he said.

Blassingame also said that when the officers failed to find any heroin or other items that justified their search warrant, they left the house without ever apologizing or offering up an explanation.

The ordeal caused her sons to become distrustful of police and Blassingame said they now demonstrate symptoms of PTSD.

“I’m just trying to reinforce to my kids that it’s still good cops that’s out here,” she told CBS 2. “It’s not all bad cops, it’s just that one rotten apple that spoils the whole bunch.”

At least 10 other Chicago families are suing the city for wrongful raids. CBS 2 broke the stories a year ago.

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“We are saying again, today, to the mayor and the superintendent: how many innocent children of color in Chicago have to be traumatized in wrong raids before the city realizes it’s too many? Enough is enough,” Hofeld said to CBS 2.