A lawsuit filed by the mother of the late Oak Park resident, Tyler Lumar, will proceed in court, following the decision by Judge Virginia M. Kendall to only partially dismiss claims against several of the defendants.
His family claims that Lumar, who died on April 18, was unlawfully arrested and detained by the Chicago Police Department in 2016. The lawsuit claims he was held in violation of his 4th Amendment rights protecting him against unreasonable search and seizure and falsely accused in Cook County lockup of being in possession of crack cocaine.
While detained in Cook County Jail, Lumar attempted to take his own life and then spent over a year and a half on life support before dying as a result of his injuries in April of 2018. He was 24 years old.
Lumar’s mother, Lisa Alcorn, sued the city of Chicago, the Chicago Police Department and a number of Cook County law enforcement agencies, claiming her son never should have been arrested.
His initial arrest was due to a faulty arrest warrant out of Lee County for unpaid parking tickets — Lumar had missed one payment by a few days prior to his arrest but had made good on the payment. He also was illegally denied bond, the lawsuit claims.
While in lockup, after being searched eight separate times by law enforcement officials, Lumar was accused by a Cook County correctional officer of being in possession of crack cocaine. His attorney, Eileen O’Connor, says video surveillance proves that the drugs were not found on his person and were the possession of another detainee.
While charges against many of the defendants in the case were dismissed, O’Connor was encouraged by Kendall’s decision to allow the claim that Lumar was unlawfully held by law enforcement officials.
The lawsuit claims that he was held on a Class Z non-bondable offense, even though the warrant was for a Class A Misdemeanor charge. Kendall’s July 27 decision notes that the “warrant did not provide probable cause to continue detaining Lumar after the officers learned that the warrant was for a non-bondable offense and Lumar could secure his release by paying $50.”
The decision states that “officers falsified the arrest report to show that Lumar’s bond information was not available and continued to detain him for a non-bondable offense” and that O’Connor sufficiently alleged Lumar was detained “without probable cause in violation of the 4th Amendment.”
O’Connor said in a telephone interview that the decision is a “very strong win” for Lumar’s family because the case will now proceed to the discovery process, where witnesses are deposed and more information is gathered.
“He had $130 on his person (at the time of his arrest) and could have bonded out and would have left that day,” she said. “Instead, they held him and claimed an administrative order prevented him from bonding out.”
The discovery process will take about 6-9 months and the case likely won’t go to trial until 2019 or 2020.
O’Connor said the video surveillance also will disprove the claim by the correctional officer that he saw Lumar in possession of the crack cocaine while in lockup.
“I’m more confident now that this case will proceed to trial because the judge has ruled my legal claims may go forward,” she said.