Family of man killed when Chicago police fired 96 times during traffic stop file wrongful death suit

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Family files wrongful death suit after Chicago police fire 96 shots in fatal traffic stop

Family of Chicago Man Killed in Police Shooting Files Wrongful Death Lawsuit

 

Family of man killed when Chicago police fired 96 times during traffic stop file wrongful death suit

Chicago— The family of Dexter Reed, a 26-year-old Chicago man fatally shot by plainclothes police officers during a traffic stop, has lodged a wrongful death lawsuit against the Chicago Police Department, alleging “brutally violent” policing tactics.

 

In an 81-page federal complaint filed on Wednesday, the family accused the officers involved of violating multiple laws and department policies during the incident that claimed Reed's life on March 21. The complaint describes the traffic stop as “predatory, violent, and unlawful,” pointing to the officers' alleged misconduct.

 

Earlier this month, a police oversight agency released videos and documents related to the shooting, indicating that Reed had fired at the officers first. However, the footage raised concerns about the officers’ use of force and the tactics employed by tactical squads utilizing unmarked police vehicles. Community activists have demanded the immediate termination of the officers involved, especially given the victim's identity as another young Black man. Concurrently, the Cook County state’s attorney’s office is conducting its own investigation into the matter.

 

The lawsuit alleges that the officers failed to properly identify themselves as police during the traffic stop, lacked reasonable suspicion to detain Reed, and exacerbated the situation by immediately resorting to drawing guns, blocking his vehicle, and issuing profanity-laden commands. Furthermore, the family claims that the officers neglected to provide timely medical care to Reed after he was shot.

 

“The Chicago Police Department leaders promote brutally violent, militarized policing tactics,” the lawsuit asserts. “The pretextual stop of Dexter Reed and the subsequent escalation by the offending police officers directly resulted in his death.”

 

Although police have disclosed limited information about the shooting, citing an “exchange of gunfire” initially, the Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA) stated this month that Reed’s vehicle was pulled over by five members of a district tactical unit purportedly because he wasn’t wearing a seatbelt.

 

According to COPA's preliminary findings, Reed initiated the gunfire exchange. Subsequently, officers returned fire, discharging 96 rounds in a span of 41 seconds, ultimately resulting in Reed's death.

 

The officers involved were part of a district tactical unit known for operating in plainclothes and being deployed to areas with high crime rates, as per the Chicago Police Department. However, the lawsuit alleges that such units have historically targeted young Black men in disadvantaged and low-income neighborhoods.

 

Earlier this year, Police Superintendent Larry Snelling disbanded a similar citywide unit amidst growing scrutiny, while elite plainclothes units in other parts of the country have faced similar challenges.

 

The lawsuit, while omitting investigators’ findings that Reed fired first, names the city of Chicago, the police department, and the five officers involved as defendants.

 

Both the Chicago police and the city declined to comment on the lawsuit, citing ongoing litigation. John Catanzara, president of the Chicago police officers’ union, indicated that he would encourage the officers to file countersuits.

 

Reed’s family is seeking a jury trial and unspecified monetary damages.

 

Speaking at a news conference outside the West Side police district where the officers worked, Reed’s mother, Nicole Banks, expressed her anguish over her son’s death, asserting that she hasn’t been able to sleep since the incident occurred. She tearfully described the shooting as an execution, emphasizing her determination to seek justice for her son.

 

Family members fondly remembered Reed as a kind and caring individual. However, his life was marred by a previous altercation in 2021, during which he sustained severe injuries, leading to post-traumatic stress disorder and influencing his interactions with law enforcement.

 

While police records indicate that Reed was facing felony gun charges from a July 2023 arrest at the time of his death, the family’s attorney, Andrew M. Stroth, dismissed these charges as irrelevant to the lawsuit.

 

Stroth emphasized the urgency of reforming the police department to prevent future tragedies like Reed’s death, noting the family’s commitment to ensuring compliance with court-supervised reform measures.

 

COPA, established in 2016 in response to public outcry following the release of dashcam video footage showing the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald by then-officer Jason Van Dyke, continues to investigate allegations of police misconduct. The Chicago Police Department has been under a court-imposed consent decree since 2019, aimed at addressing longstanding issues of racial bias and excessive use of force within the department. However, independent monitoring teams overseeing the department’s compliance have noted persistent delays and shortcomings in meeting reform objectives.


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CRN News Update - Latest Breaking News: Family of man killed when Chicago police fired 96 times during traffic stop file wrongful death suit
Family of man killed when Chicago police fired 96 times during traffic stop file wrongful death suit
Family files wrongful death suit after Chicago police fire 96 shots in fatal traffic stop
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