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Can a Family Sue for Wrongful Death after a Fatal Police Encounter in Chicago, Illinois?

— December 16, 2021

Families who have lost loved ones due to excessive force actions by police officers in Chicago should consult with a police brutality attorney to see if they have legal standing to pursue damages.

A wrongful death lawsuit was filed against the City of Chicago by the family of a man who was fatally shot by a police officer in 2020.  The claim is against  the city, the shooting officer, and his partner for not intervening when the shooting officer discharged his weapon 11 times during the encounter, according to the report.  The man who died was unarmed and running away from officers when he was killed.  The incident occurred on August 31, 2020 when the officers’ unmarked squad car was fired upon on West 19th Street.  The man who was killed was with three other people, and someone from that group fired shots on the officers according to the internal report.  The shooting victim was questioned by police earlier in the evening, was not armed, and admitted to being a gang member.  Families who have lost loved ones due to excessive force actions by police officers in Chicago should consult with a police brutality attorney to see if they have legal standing to pursue damages.  

Civil rights violations

Across the nation, civil rights are being violated every day and police brutality, bias-based policing, and excessive force are at the root of this national crisis, especially in the larger cities like Chicago with an approximate population of  2,679,080 from 2021 data. Officers are supposed to be held to a higher standard under color of law and have a responsibility to diffuse actions that could lead to death utilizing their specialized training to de-escalate arguments that lead to increased violence.   If you have lost a loved one to a negative police encounter, talk to a professional police brutality attorney who can explain any options you have for damages against the wrongful death occurrence in Chicago.

Police distrust

Public view of the department and interactions within communities is resulting in strong resistance from both sides of the argument: upholding an oath to serve and protect; and reactions against officers use of excessive force through overarching authority, often yielding personal injury situations and death to citizens.  

Broad “use of force” acceptable

Law enforcement officers are allowed the “use of force” when necessary, and in accordance with officer training and department policy. The broad-based authority given to police to use force while apprehending criminals, utilizing both physical and psychological methods, to deter and reduce crime is based on policy that dictates what is considered “reasonable” force in any given situation and is often difficult to clarify and measure. 

Common forms of police brutality

Police brutality image via Pixabay. Public domain.

Excessive force is not the only violation of police brutality: other actions include false arrest and wrongful imprisonment; wrongful search and seizure activity; sexual harassment; racial and gender discrimination; and general abuse against civilians.  

Report negative police action

The Cook County Sheriff’s Office has an Office of Professional Review to ensure that employee misconduct is not tolerated.  All complaints must be notarized and signed before being submitted in accordance with Illinois State Law 50 ILCS 725/3.8(b) and delivered to the:

Office of Professional Review
Cook County Sheriff’s Office
3026 South California
Building 2, Fourth Floor
Chicago, Illinois 60608-5110
(773) 674-7580

Speak to an attorney

Surviving loved ones may be able to sue for damages with the help of a legal professional who has experience in wrongful death claims due to police brutality actions.  Damages may include medical expenses, funeral expenses, future lost wages and companionship and pain and suffering caused by the loss.  If you know someone who has lost a loved one due to police brutality action, seek legal counsel at in your area.  They may be able to guide any actions that will compensate victims for the wrongful death loss.  


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