I think our Alderman, Burt Natarus is a bit of a grandstanding putz, but in this instance, he deserves praise. The Ryan Harris murder case was a travesty, and the young boy wrongly accused is still dealing with all sorts of psychological problems.

From the Trib

Ald. Burton Natarus (42nd) sought to quintuple the city's payment to a boy wrongfully arrested in the Ryan Harris murder case but was thwarted by City Council colleagues who defeated his proposal to pay the troubled youngster $10 million.

Instead, the council voted to provide the $2 million that had been negotiated by lawyers for the boy and attorneys for the city.

After hearing colleagues talk about the child's continuing problems, malfeasance by police in his case and assertions that a jury could have awarded $30 million to $50 million and that the $2 million figure was "a gift to the taxpayers of Chicago," Natarus made his highly unusual proposal.

"This is such a bad settlement [for the boy], let's send it back," he declared. "Let's get the child more money. ... Two million dollars for a case like this? It's horrible. This is a $30 million case."

Ald. Edward Burke (14th), chairman of the council's Finance Committee, moved to table Natarus' proposal.

Aldermen then voted 42-1 to seal the $2 million settlement, Natarus casting the nay.

The boy, then 7, was arrested along with an 8-year-old companion in 1998 and charged with murdering the 11-year-old Harris girl. The charges were dropped and an adult man subsequently charged, but the younger boy continues to suffer from post-traumatic stress syndrome and other problems.

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This page contains a single entry by Seth A. published on January 12, 2005 8:33 AM.

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