Despite Having Bail, Police Left A Young Black Man In Jail (Video)

“I’m so tired of racism, bro.”

According to Chicago police dashcam footage, this is what Tyler Lumar said outside the clinic he had just left in a fury after a doctor accused Lumar of reselling his prescription cough medicine.

He told police:

“That’s racial profiling. I don’t gangbang, I went to Oak Park and River Forest (High School). I played baseball.”

According to the police report, Lumar stormed out of the East Garfield Park clinic after threatening to come back and shoot the place up.

When police determined Lumar’s threat benign, they let him go without charges.

Why then did the 22-year-old father hang himself with his shirt in a jail cell 24 hours later?

With the brain trauma Lumar suffered, he cannot speak or move, and has spent the past year on life support, racking up $2 million in medical costs.

Now his family is trying to figure out why he was kept locked up overnight for an overdue $25 traffic ticket he had already paid despite having the required bail.

The lawsuit Lumar’s family has filed accuses Chicago police of falsifying inspection logs as they were “deliberately indifferent” when they failed to check on Lumar every 15 minutes due to his asthma.

This case is being presented as another example of Chicago and Cook County’s alleged failure of preventing nonviolent offenders from languishing in jails, which experts say disproportionately affects the poor and minorities.

It also underscores the paradoxical fine line defendants walk in misdemeanor cases, where an insignificantly late payment can result in jail time.

Tyler Lumar’s mother, Lisa Alcorn, sobbed when she said during an interview:

“My son never should’ve been there [in lockup].” 

 Lumar’s longtime girlfriend, Casey Tecate, commented:

“It definitely is scary; it goes to show it could literally happen to anybody. I feel like they, meaning the police, just don’t … look at certain people as people. They’re just like ‘Oh (this is) some person from the West Side of Chicago.’ They weren’t looking at him as Tyler Lumar: a dad, a brother, a son.”

Attorneys for the city and police officers argue they did nothing wrong, and have asked a judge to dismiss the case.

In a recent court filing, the officers’ attorney wrote:

“Plaintiff has failed to plead that Lumar’s suicide attempt was a constitutional deprivation instead of just a tragic decision by Lumar himself.”

However, officers have been unable to verify why Lumar remained in a cell when he had bail money.

Lumar was pulled over and ticketed for driving with a suspended license in 2015.

He pleaded guilty a month later and was required to pay $673 in court costs, much of which he paid upfront. The rest he delivered in $25 monthly payments.

All these payments were on time, except for one. His June payment was five-days late, for which Lee County issued an arrest warrant two days after the due date.

After Lumar’s arrest, Chicago police learned after contacting Lee County that Lumar’s arrest warrant carried a $500 bond.

Lumar could have posted 10 percent–$50–and been released.

According to arrest report, Lumar had $130 dollars on him.

But Chicago PD placed an “extradition hold” on Lumar, meaning he would have to sit in jail and wait for Lee County to come for him.

According to the lawsuit, the arrest report falsely states the bond information wasn’t available at the time in question.

Lisa Alcorn’s attorney, Eileen O’Connor, stated:

“If this were a rich white kid, they would’ve gladly taken his $50 and let him walk.”

Moreover, waiting in the Cook County bullpen before leaving for court, a sheriff’s officer reportedly found a crack cocaine packet near Lumar, belonging, according to security video footage, to another inmate, who removed it from his shoe and tossed it toward Lumar.

Interestingly, police had initially searched searched Lumar at least eight times without finding drugs.

Lumar was then returned around 11 a.m. to Harrison District on drug charges.

Nine minutes later, he was found hanging inside Cellblock E2.

It was only after Tyler Lumar languished in an intensive care unit at Mount Sinai Hospital police decided to release him without filing charges.

His family, though, still has to contend with his medical bills.

Image credit: © Family photo

Ted Millar is writer and teacher. His work has been in featured in myriad literary journals, including Better Than Starbucks, The Broke Bohemian, Straight Forward Poetry, Caesura, Circle Show, Cactus Heart, Third Wednesday, and The Voices Project. He is also a contributor to Op-Ed News, Liberal Nation Rising, and Zoedune.