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11/25/87 Myrtle Williams Rush, v. the City of Chicago Et Al.

November 25, 1987

PATRICK WILLIAMS, DECEASED, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT

v.

THE CITY OF CHICAGO ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES



APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIRST DISTRICT, FOURTH DIVISION

MYRTLE WILLIAMS RUSH, Special Adm'r of the Estate of

517 N.E.2d 17, 163 Ill. App. 3d 725, 115 Ill. Dec. 52 1987.IL.1747

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Allen A. Freeman, Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

PRESIDING JUSTICE McMORROW delivered the opinion of the court. LINN, J., and JIGANTI, J., concur.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE MCMORROW

While plaintiff Patrick Williams (Williams) was being held by police as a suspect in a rape investigation, he was shot by the mother of the rape victim and sustained substantial personal injuries. He filed this action against the City of Chicago and certain officers of the Chicago police department (collectively the City) to recover damages for his injuries, alleging that the City's failure to prevent the shooting or to protect him from it constituted both ordinary and wilful and wanton negligence. The trial court dismissed Williams' ordinary negligence count prior to trial. *fn1 The jury returned a verdict in favor of the City on the wilful and wanton negligence count, and the trial court entered judgment on the jury verdict. Williams appeals.

Upon review, we conclude that the City was immune from tort liability for wilful and wanton negligence, because plaintiff failed to establish that the City had a special duty to prevent the rape victim's mother from shooting Williams or to protect him from injury while Williams was being held as a suspect in a rape investigation. We therefore affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Background

Chicago police received a report that an eight-year-old girl had been raped in the city. They spoke to the victim and showed her an array of photographs of potential assailants. She identified Williams as the person who had raped her. The police arrested Williams and transported him to the police station for investigation. Upon arrival at the station, Williams was placed in an interrogation room and handcuffed to a wall.

Meanwhile, other police officers brought the girl and her mother to the station to sign a complaint against Williams. The victim and her mother were placed in the interrogation room next to where Williams was being held. Later, the officers who were speaking to the rape victim and her mother left that interrogation room, leaving the victim and her mother alone. The mother then walked out of the room, went to the door of Williams' room, and shot Williams five times in rapid succession while he was handcuffed to the wall. He was severely injured from the wounds.

Williams filed this action to recover damages, alleging both ordinary and wilful and wanton negligence on the part of the City for its failure to prevent the shooting or to protect him from it. The City argued that the complaint should be dismissed on the ground that it was immune from liability. (See Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 85, par. 4-102 (governmental tort immunity with respect to police protection); Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 110, par. 2-619(a)(9) (dismissal based upon affirmative matter).) The trial court struck the ordinary negligence count and denied the motion to dismiss the wilful and wanton negligence count. Williams appeals from the judgment entered on the jury verdict in favor of the City and police on the wilful and wanton negligence count.

Opinion

Upon review, Williams challenges the trial court's dismissal of the ordinary negligence count and certain of the court's rulings during and following trial. We hold that the City is immune from tort liability under section 4-102 of the Local Governmental and Local Governmental Employees Tort Immunity Act (Ill. Rev. ...


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