Cop Sued 4 Times in Last 5 Years Headed to Court Again
MARKHAM, IL – A Markham cop accused of violence against civilians in four other federal lawsuits has been sued in federal court again today, this time for beating up a recently hospitalized disabled man, sending him to the hospital again with a life-threatening condition.
LaFayette Thomas was a passenger in his father’s car March 17th when the two men were pulled over by Officer William Brazil. After arresting the father for driving on an expired license, Brazil, who had no name badge on, began yelling and swearing at Thomas after Thomas asked him his name.
Brazil repeatedly threw Thomas against the hood of his squad car, slamming his head against it. Another Markham officer, Zakiya Larry, looked on but made no attempt to intervene or to get Officer Brazil to stop his assault. After beating him up, the officers didn’t charge Mr. Thomas with any crimes, leaving him by the roadside after having the car towed and taking his father into custody; Thomas called a friend to take him to the hospital.
Mr. Thomas suffers from sickle cell disease and is in extremely fragile health. In fact, he had had brain surgery not long before the attack and was heading to see his doctor to pick up medicine when he and his father were pulled over. Among other injuries, Officer Brazil’s assault caused Mr. Thomas to go into a life-threatening sickle cell crisis, and Thomas is still suffering the after-effects of the beating.
This is not the first allegation of its kind against Officer Brazil. Brazil has been named as a defendant in at least four civil rights lawsuits in the past five years, according to federal court records. His brutal behavior is so notorious that several days after the attack when Thomas spoke to Markham Mayor David Webb about the attack, the Mayor uttered an expletive in disgust.
Named as defendants in the suit are Officers Brazil and Larry, and the City of Markham. The suit alleges that the officers violated Mr. Thomas’s rights under the Fourth Amendment and that the City is responsible for the incident because it has known Officer Brazil’s pattern of misconduct for years and has done nothing to stop it.
“That Markham has known about this serial misconduct by Officer Brazil, including at the highest levels and yet taken no effective actions, is a serious abdication of their responsibilities to the people that they are supposed to serve,” said Gretchen Helfrich of Loevy & Loevy Attorneys at Law, one of Mr. Thomas’s attorneys.
Mr. Thomas is also represented by Arthur Loevy of Loevy & Loevy, which is one of the largest civil rights law firms in the country. Loevy & Loevy has won more multi-million dollar jury verdicts than any other civil rights law firm in the entire country over the past decade.
A copy of the suit, LaFayette Thomas v. City of Markham, et al., No. 1:16-cv-08107, is available here.