Family of Man Who Died in Police Custody File Lawsuit

Steps Away From Emergency Room, Dajuan Gates Was Handcuffed and Unresponsive But Police Offered No Medical Help

Contact: Debra Pickett, Page 2 Communications
773 368 7064

(Chicago: July 20, 2021) The family of a man who died last summer while in custody of Oak Park and Forest Park Police Officers have filed suit, alleging that police misconduct was to blame.

Dajuan Gates, 27, left behind five young children when he died in August. Today, attorneys from Tomasik Kotin Kasserman filed a lawsuit on behalf of those children, seeking to hold the Villages of Oak Park and Forest Park accountable for Gates’ death.

On the afternoon of August 22, 2020, Gates was seen by a Forest Park Police Officer rolling through a stop sign on a residential street. When followed by the police officer, Gates left his vehicle and was apprehended, eight minutes later, by an Oak Park Police Officer across the street from the Rush Oak Park Hospital Emergency Department. He was taken into custody by Oak Park Police at the corner of Madison Street and Maple Avenue at 4:20 p.m.

For the next 21 minutes, as captured by multiple dash cam recordings, Gates – handcuffed with his arms behind his back – exhibited multiple symptoms of an obvious medical emergency, having trouble standing, sitting, speaking, and breathing. For 21 minutes, no medical assistance was summoned. In fact, the suit alleges, for a portion of those 21 minutes, the unresponsive and handcuffed Gates was left in the rear seat of a squad car in the ambulance bay of the emergency department – and still no medical attention was provided.

By the time paramedics were called and finally assessed Gates at 4:41 pm, he was essentially brain dead. 

Gates had been experiencing a PCP overdose, and, his family’s attorneys say, earlier medical intervention would have saved his life. 

The lawsuit alleges that once someone is in police custody, officers have a duty to protect the health of that detained citizen. According to attorney Dan Kotin, “This is particularly true when the person is experiencing a medical emergency as was Dajuan Gates. He was in and out of consciousness, unable to stand or even sit upright. It is outrageous that no help was called, particularly when the emergency room was only 60 feet away. They could have carried him in there.”

Kotin continued, “This was a traffic stop. This was not someone who posed a threat. You can hear and see his ordeal in the recordings and yet none of the many police officers involved took this medical emergency seriously. Instead, they yelled at him and treated him as if he were faking his illness to avoid the consequences of missing the stop sign.”

Medical experts determined that Gates died from multi-organ failure due to hyperthermia resulting from the PCP. 

“If he had been treated in the emergency room even minutes earlier, he would have been intubated, cooled, and given IV fluids,” said Phil Terrazzino, another attorney representing the family. “In all likelihood, he would have walked out of the hospital the next day.”

Gates is survived by three daughters and two sons. The oldest child is 10-years old and the youngest is less than a year old, born after his father’s death.




Attention media: Photos and videos are available. Tenell Coleman, mother of three of the Gates children, is available for comment on July 20, 2021, as are the family’s attorneys.





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Chicago, Illinois 60601, 312-605-8800,

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