SEXXUAL ABUSE & WHEN THE ARBITRATION PROCESS REALLY FAILS
 
Copyright  © June 10, 2010
 
By  Christopher C. Cooper  (cooperlaw3234@gmail.com)


  
              Monday, June 7, 2010  to be exact.  I (a civil rights  attorney) met my two clients in an office building in downtown Chicago.  We were there for scheduled  arbitration. 
 
              This case involved a young black woman, about 19 at the time of a  horrid event for which this case is all about.   I don’t want to tell you her  name because she has suffered enough embarrassment .  Worse, the half dozen women’s rights  groups and alleged feminists in the Chicago area who have long known about the  case since 2005 have never lifted a finger to help the young black woman. 
 
              The young black woman had the unfortunate circumstance of coming out of  the upstairs shower of her two story home that she shared with her brother,  his wife and their children, when police officers from the scandal-ridden (now  disbanded) Chicago Police Department Special Operations Section (SOS), armed  with M16 rifles, used a battering ram to knock down the door of the family  home.  Finding the young girl home  alone, terrified, and naked except for a laced bra, laced panties and an open,  short cut terry-cloth robe, the team leader handcuffed the woman and led and  participated along with five other white officers in forcing the young woman  to show them her vagina and anal cavity while having her assume,  against a wall, positions simulating  intercourse, over the better part of twenty-five minutes.  She begged the team leader  to help her---she kept asking him “Why are you  doing this to me?” 
 
              The team leader had brought officers to the home with him to confiscate  the family’s dogs.  The dogs were  accused of biting another dog in a saga that is described by witnesses as one  in which the bitten dog was the property of a local gang.  The young woman’s brother  was arrested and charged with animal  cruelty and then acquitted of all charges following a 3-day jury trial; but  the officer in charge, the team leader, who had so well orchestrated a virtual  sexual assault also had the dogs “put down.”
 
             The young woman experienced a variety of negative emotional affects  following the abuse that a licensed psychiatrist defined as Post Traumatic  Stress Disorder (PTSD).  On the  day that the case was scheduled for trial in the summer of 2008, the judge  ruled that the case was of nuisance value, hence pushed it from the higher law  division into the municipal division.   Suddenly, a case that had changed a young girl’s life forever was  competing with non-life threatening car accident cases for a place on the  arbitration roster.  The law holds  that all municipal division cases must be heard by a panel of 3  arbitrators.  A trial can be  sought, at a cost,  after the  arbitration process.   Each  case is given exactly two hours, of which each side is given one hour.  Of the more than 5000 documents in my  possession in this case, I walked into the arbitration this past Monday with a  binder of about 700 and handed it to the lead arbitrator.
 
             Like my clients, I am black.   The arbitrators were white.   Two of the arbitrators were perhaps in their 70’s and the third perhaps  in his 50’s.  One of the 70  something arbitrators was a woman.   I got to know her very quickly since, when my clients and I walked into  the arbitration room, she shouted harshly when my client, the black young  woman, stated that she could not sit across the arbitration table from the  officer, the team leader who had orchestrated what she defines as equivalent  to rape.  The old woman quipped  with a fierce razor sharp tongue” What’s the problem here!”  Why can’t she sit across from him!” My  attempt to explain was drowned out by the old woman’s growls. 
 
              The Chicago “City\Corporation Counsel” attorney looked at the  arbitrators and said that the young woman had the power and control to decide  if the officers saw her vagina or her anus.  That the young woman knew that the  police were “coming in,” yet she decided to dress only in “laced  garments(!)”  The City attorney  added”  Ms.___________had time to  put on more clothing….  She had  time to tie her robe but she chose not to.   Ms._______was in control of what the officers saw and did not  see.  She provoked the  officers.” 
 
              I sat in my chair realizing that the City attorney was effectively  calling my client a “Whore.”  My  client, a young black woman was sitting frozen---the arbitrators by their  awful demeanor and the City attorney like a conductor, it was clear that in  the eyes of these four people that my client deserved no less than to be  called every vile name for a woman in disrepute, since, after all as the  Corporation Counsel said:   “she chose lace panties and a lace  bra!” ---and worse:  “she did not  tie her robe…she could have tied her robe” said the Corporation counsel  attorney.  
 

              The female Corporation counsel was not done.  She cross-examined my female client  with intensity:   “And, isn’t it true that you could have  put on more clothes!”  And, when  the young woman would try to explain that there was no time,---not even enough  time to tie the robe if she could, the lead arbitrator joined in ordering my  client to confine her answer to “yes” or “no” and nothing more.  The young woman broke down, her sobs  clearly audible in the arbitration room.  Tears running, but the panel steered  angrily at my client and would not even offer a tissue.  The male corporation counsel attorney  exclaimed to the welcoming panel:   “She’s malingering!”  At  that moment, the psychiatrist had showed to the hearing and accompanied the  young woman into the hallway.  My  client  would tell the  psychiatrist that “it was happening  all over again,” what the officer\team leader had done to her, he was  doing it again only  this time  with the help of the three licensed lawyers appointed by the Cook County  Circuit Court as arbitrators.
 
             When the psychiatrist took the stand, the male City attorney had turned  my client into the unimaginable for a   woman with pride.  He,  blaming the PTSD not on what the officer\team leader had done, but rather  imploring the arbitrators to focus on the woman having had a miscarriage and  that her mother had become paralyzed from the waist down in an accident. 
 
              When, it was over the psychiatrist, a University of Chicago graduate  with over 40 years experience including having testified in other cases, was  in utter shock.  She remarked to  me that she had thought that blaming women for these types of events was a  thing of the past.  I had know  guidance to offer the confused therapist.  I thought too that our society had  undergone big change.  Even  worse:  The arbitrators had made  their minds up.  The racial  tension, differences, culture and baggage in the arbitration room were crystal  clear.
 
             The lead arbitrator rushed the process to the end.  I said to him of my exhibits:  “You may keep my binder—the documents  will help you and your colleagues in coming to a decision.”  He snapped: “not necessary, we will  decide now.  “Now” I said.   I added: “You have not had a chance to  review the record.”  He responded:   “It doesn’t matter.”  He handed me back the binder and told  us to leave the arbitration room.   Within about 60 seconds, he walked out with a piece of paper in  hand.  He said nothing to us but  appeared to have spoken to the officer and the City attorney.  We walked to the front of the  office.  A woman from behind a  counter said to me:  “Your  decision is posted on the wall.”    I reached, took it in my  hand and saw that it read:  “for  defendant.”  My clients had  lost.
 
                  I am tormented by Monday’s experience.  In this regard,  one late night as a cop, I pulled my  police car alongside of a parked, occupied vehicle for the purpose of making  sure that everything was okay.   I was able to look into the car  alongside of  my police car that I  shared with my partner---my car was facing one way and the civilian car was  facing the other way.  There was a  man in the driver’s seat.  I said  hello.  There was a woman with  him.  I intentionally spoke  directly to her ---I said hello to the woman.  She responded back with a  “hello.”  I asked her: “Is  everything okay?”  She answered  “yes.”  
 
               The hours passed and my partner went into the station on department  business and a young female officer replaced him and rode with me until our  tour was finished.  It was just  about 7AM, check off time, when we received a “run” for which the dispatcher  had little information other than that the caller needed the police.  As I did on many mornings, when other  units ignored calls announced at check off, I went to the call.  I climbed several sets of stairs and  came to an apartment unit.  I was  greeted by a middle-aged woman standing in an open doorway.  She directed me into her apartment and  then into a rear bedroom.  In the  corner, on the floor, crouched and curled in a fetal position was a young  woman.  As I walked closer, I  could see her face, she was badly beaten, bloody, her clothes in disarray, she  sobbed softly and continually.   SUDDENLY!  A chill ran up  my spine----- it was the woman I had seen earlier in the car.  I stood motionless.  She said to me as she cried: “I wanted  to tell you, but he had a gun in my side, he took me and he raped me.”   I knelt down, I was saying “no,  no, no, no”       ---the female partner who was with me was shouting:  “Cooper, it’s check off, fuck  her---let’s go Cooper!”  I ignored  the female officer and her incessant reminders that it was time to turn the  car over to the day work officers.   Soon, a female and male paramedic came.  As they went toward the victim, she  cried louder---I was the only one that she would allow near to her at this  moment.  The female paramedic, was  saying, “fuck the bitch, if she don’t want our help then we’re leaving.”  I told the paramedic to stay.  The paramedic joined with the female  officer in cursing the woman and telling her that she had better get up or  that they were leaving. As for me, almost daily, I imagine a scenario in which  I could have prevented the rape from having occurred.
 
              I often wonder if that young woman or my client had not been black,  would things have been different for them.  There is a saying by some in policing  circles that “there is no such thing as a legitimate black rape victim”  -----she was doing tricks, etc. they  would say.  You know,  with regard to the arbitration case,  the Chicago area black and white influential feminists and civil rights groups  know about what happened to my client---the case has received media  attention--- but none, not even allegedly color friendly Chicago Public Radio  has attempted to turn the tide.   Said another way, needed are arbitrators who do allow the color of a  party to impact their decision and needed is a climate in which a woman is not  blamed for having become a victim of sexual abuse.
 
              As for my clients, I have represented the indigent woman and her  brother at no cost for almost five years. I am perplexed that there are people  who would not find fault with Monday’s arbitration.  I am happy that there are others who  know that something when terribly wrong this past Monday.
 
 
 
 Christopher C. Cooper, Esq., JD, PhD 
 
 cooperlaw3234@gmail.com
 
Tel:  312 371 6752

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This is terrible! I can't believe how awful these ladies were treated! Permanent panel of arbitrators is a bad idea and in this case, it seemed like a conflict of interest. Thank God for people like Mr. Cooper who obvisouly have compassion for people and values to do the right thing.

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