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3rd lawsuit claims election-night police abuse
Associated Press
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Published: 11/23/2008 12:02 AM

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A third lawsuit claims Chicago police harassed black residents cheering President-elect Barack Obama's win. The city's independent agency that investigates claims of police misconduct confirms it is looking into multiple complaints of alleged abuse by officers on Election Night.

Independent Police Review Authority Chief Administrator Ilana Rosenzweig said her office has interviewed several people who say they were hassled by police while peacefully celebrating election results.

Her comments came as a third lawsuit was filed by 22 people in federal court Friday, claiming Chicago officers shouted expletives, used pepper spray and fired a Taser on them Nov. 4.

"We have been actively investigating since complaints were first received," Rosenzweig said. "We are actively seeking additional information from the public."

She wouldn't say how many complaints her agency had received.

The newest suit says residents of a neighborhood on Chicago's west side were celebrating in their backyards and on their front porches when they were accosted by police. The plaintiffs "were engaged in a peaceful recognition and celebration of the new president-elect, Barack Obama," the suit reads.

"It was cool, and then the next minute the police were going haywire," said 25-year-old Christopher Cobbs.

Attorney Blake Horowitz represents the plaintiffs, who are black. He said the incident was racially motivated. Horowitz said police broke one plaintiff's cell phone when he tried to record the incident.

Police charged two of the plaintiffs with obstruction of an officer. Another was booked on reckless conduct, but all three cases were later dropped.

Two similar lawsuits have been filed. In one, four people allege police using racial slurs discharged pepper spray while the plaintiffs were riding in a car with open windows.