Man Taken Off Life Support by Wrong Family

Elisha Brittman was badly beaten in Chicago. He was found naked and beaten underneath a car near 47th Street and Wabash Avenue in Bronzeville on April 29, according to the Chicago Tribune. He was taken to Mercy Hospital and listed as John Doe – and taken off of life support by the wrong family.

Instead of following proper protocol and doing their job, police decided to rely only on mugshots to identify Brittman instead of using fingerprints. Police told family members that Brittman was Alfonso Bennett– a totally different person – and the family of Bennett decided to take him off of life support.

Now, both the families of Brittman and Bennett are suing the police because of Brittman being taken off of life support.

Bennett’s family said in the lawsuit that they tried to tell hospital that they didn’t think Brittman was their relative. But after being pressured by the hospital and told they were in denial, they finally followed the hospital’s recommendation to take him off of life support and put him in hospice care.

“I said, ‘How did you all verify that this is Alfonso Bennett?’” Rosie Brooks, Bennett’s sister, said at a news conference Wednesday. “They said, ‘Through the Chicago Police Department.’”

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Then, the unthinkable happened.

Brooks said the family was with Brittman when he died three days later. After they made funeral arrangements, Brooks said her brother, Alfonso Bennett, walked through the front door. In the meantime, the man who died was identified at the morgue through fingerprints, as should have happened from the beginning, as Brittman.

“They find a guy naked, beat up, under a car, no ID and just take him to Mercy,” Brooks told the Chicago Tribune. “My thing is if it had been a different ZIP code, would it have made a difference? Because you have a John Doe, no ID, naked and under a car, wouldn’t you want to know how he got under the car? Who put him under there? What happened? To me that means black lives don’t matter. You carried him to Mercy, didn’t even know who he was and didn’t even take the time to find out. You should have fingerprinted him then.”

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