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Chicago officials forced to change their attitude to police brutality complaints

A federal lawsuit filed accuses a group of police officers of attacking four men during a traffic dispute, including one man who tried to stop the beatings.

The excessive force complaint filed Thursday alleges the men, who are all in their late 20s, did nothing to warrant the severe beatings they received by the officers Jan. 7.

The lawsuit is the latest in a series of police brutality complaints that have pressured city officials to change the way they respond to such claims. In the latest suit, which seeks unspecified monetary damages, three of the men pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct charges to avoid jail time.

"In addition to the physical injuries they suffered, each of the plaintiffs were also emotionally traumatized by their beating and the injustice of the aftermath," the lawsuit says.

The officers named in the complaint remain on the job because the matter is still under investigation, police spokeswoman Monique Bond said. The men claim an unmarked squad car ran a stop sign, nearly striking three of them. When they yelled at the driver, two officers allegedly exited the car and confronted them. Other police officers then joined in the altercation.

The lawsuit claims a fourth man was attacked when he witnessed the attack and yelled at the police officers to stop.

Other recent events resulting in police brutality claims include two videotaped beatings involving off-duty officers at bars and the indictments of six officers on charges ranging from burglary to armed violence.

The City Council voted 48-0 last week to give Mayor Richard Daley control of the office that investigates police misconduct.

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