Families of two Chicago men killed by police take legal action

The families of two young Chicago men who were shot and killed by police have filed lawsuits in federal court against the City of Chicago and the Chicago Police Department. Although the deaths are unrelated, both families contend that the men were unarmed when they were shot in the back, and they believe there was no reason for officers to use lethal force. The mothers of both men say that they have received no information on their sons’ deaths from police, and they want to know why their sons lost their lives.

One of the young men, a 23-year-old, was killed in December of 2012 by officers who fired two shots into his back. His mother insists that he was not carrying a gun. She has filed a wrongful death suit that also alleges excessive force and a number of other claims. According to the suit, when the man’s mother and sister rushed to the scene and inquired of police about their loved one, officers “responded by laughing and taunting” them with racial slurs.

Police say that the SUV they stopped matched the description of one used in local armed robberies, and they believed the man, whom they say fled the vehicle and reacted violently, had a gun. However, they have not confirmed whether he in fact was armed. The cause of death was determined to be homicide.

The second young man was just 17 when he, too, was shot in the back by police officers this past Fourth of July. The high school senior, according to police, ran from them and aimed a gun at them. According to witnesses, he did not have a gun. His death was also ruled a homicide.

The Independent Police Review Authority is investigating both killings, and the State’s Attorney’s Office for Cook County says that it cannot do anything until that investigation is complete. Meanwhile, the families say that they want “another set of eyes” to review the cases – specifically the U.S. Attorney.

While no one disputes that Chicago’s law enforcement officers have an extremely difficult job and often have to react to potentially life-threatening situations in a split second, family members have a right to seek the truth and take legal action when they believe a loved one was harmed or killed unjustly. As the mother of the 17-year-old said, “No child deserves to be shot in the back by anyone.”

Source: abclocal.go.com, “2 moms seek answers in sons' police shooting deaths” No author given, Dec. 11, 2013

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Families of two Chicago men killed by police take legal action