Two Chicago residents have filed federal lawsuits against two former Chicago police officers, claiming the officers raided their homes and falsely arrested them on warrants based on false information.
The lawsuits both name former Chicago police officers David Salgado and Sgt. Xavier Elizondo, who await sentencing after being convicted by a federal jury in October of conspiracy, theft and obstruction of justice.
Micaela Cruz and Irene Simmons have brought the lawsuits in U.S. District Court, contending the officers had raided their homes and arrested them without cause. Cruz’s complaint also is brought on behalf of two of her children who were present during the raids.
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Cruz claims in the lawsuit that Salgado and Elizondo’s team arrived at her home in January 2018 and placed her son, then 16, in handcuffs after waking him up at gunpoint. According to the complaint, the officers directed the youth to call his mother and threatened to arrest him if she did not return home. The officers then claimed to find heroin in Cruz’s bedroom, though the charges were dropped in March of that year.
In a press conference Tuesday at the law firm Loevy & Loevy, which represents the women, Cruz described the emotional effect of the raids: “They cannot even hear a knock on the door without being scared,” she said, of her children.
The officers raided Cruz’s home again in January 2019, which her lawyers allege “was in retaliation for Ms. Cruz’s efforts to expose Defendant’s Salgado and Elizondo’s misdeeds.”
Simmons’ suit, filed Wednesday, alleges that the officers raided her home with a “bogus search warrant” in October 2017. According to the complaint, she was detained with her young granddaughter and charged with drug crimes. She further claims that the officers “ransacked” her home. All charges against her were dropped in June 2018.
Simmons claims that the raid was a violation of her rights, including due process and privacy, and that she suffered “mental anguish” and “damage to her personal property.”
The lawsuits each name the City of Chicago and several other police officers as defendants, and both complaints paint a picture of a broken system of accountability.
“We’re looking for accountability,” said Jon Loevy, who represents both women. “The city is as culpable as the officers.”
Loevy highlighted that the officers were only arrested and convicted after a federal investigation revealed their wrongdoing. Court proceedings and investigations revealed that the officers secured numerous search warrants by pushing informants to give false testimony. Elizondo and Salgado also benefited financially from their misconduct by taking drugs or money from raided homes.
According to Loevy, the state’s attorney’s office has dropped charges in 39 cases involving the disgraced officers.
A spokesman for the City of Chicago Law Department failed to respond to requests for comment.
Simmons and Cruz are seeking jury trials. Other lawsuits against Elizondo and Salgado have ended with quick settlements.