On August 29, 2013, the Chicago Police Department stormed into the home of 3-year-old Davianna Simmons, which she shared with her mother, Aretha Simmons, and grandmother.
The encounter included a raid that ended with officers pointing a loaded gun at Davianna's chest. As Davianna cried in fear, she also had to watch as cops held a gun to her grandmother's head while her mother was shaken, pushed, struck and eventually handcuffed.
The trauma from that event had to be unimaginable, especially for a 3-year-old. According to TheMaven.net, Davianna, now 8-years-old, still fears sirens and often wakes up screaming.
Rush Medical Center pediatric psychiatrist Dr. Niranjan Karnik said it was, “one of the worst cases of child post-traumatic stress disorder I've [ever seen].”
The family filed a lawsuit in November 2014, in part because the raid was wholly unnecessary: the officers had the wrong house.
They had a warrant for drug dealer Alonzo McFadden; an informant lied to them, telling police McFadden had connections with the Simmons family. The order for his arrest listed the Simmons' house as his address, but he never lived there, and the family had never met the man.
According to The News Observer, the Chicago City Council approved a $2.5 million settlement on Wednesday, June 27, in connection with the excessive force lawsuit. $1 million of that money will go directly to Davianna.
Aretha's attorney, Al Hofeld Jr., asked why the Chicago Police Department's treatment of children isn't a part of upcoming police reforms, noting, "it is not even on CPD's radar."
"We fought like hell against the City of Chicago and the Chicago Police Department all throughout this lawsuit," said Hofeld. "Two of the officers involved even lied in court about being suspended."