Brother of man shot by Chicago police files wrongful death lawsuit

By Jonathan Bilyk | Sep 27, 2013

The brother of a 28-year-old man who died after he was shot by police following an altercation near a Chicago Housing Authority building has filed a wrongful death suit in Chicago’s federal court.

Jarrod Horton -- brother of Marlon Horton, who allegedly died at the hands of the police on Sept. 7 -- brought the action Sept. 24 against the City of Chicago, the CHA, two unknown Chicago Police Department officers and two unknown CHA security guards.

Represented by Chicago attorneys Jeffrey B. Granich and Katie Z. Ehrmin, Horton claims the officers wrongfully detained and abused his brother, violating his rights and ultimately leading to the fatal incident.

He seeks an unspecified “substantial sum” of money in damages from the city and the CHA to compensate for the injuries to and death of Marlon, and to punish the police agencies for the alleged violations of Marlon’s rights.

The complaint stems from a Sept. 7 incident, in which Marlon was inside a CHA building at 1815 W. Monroe St. in Chicago, when, for a reason not specified in the complaint, he encountered CPD and CHA officers.

According to the complaint, the officers asked Marlon to leave the building, and he complied.

However, again for reasons not specified in the complaint,  the officers then opted to arrest Marlon “without an arrest warrant, without a search warrant, without exigent circumstances, without reasonable suspicion, without consent and without probable cause to believe that (Marlon) was committing or had committed a crime,” the suit claims.

From there, for reasons not specified in the complaint, the incident escalated, ultimately resulting in the officers shooting and killing Marlon.

According to other published media reports, police said Marlon was sleeping in the lobby of the CHA building, when he was asked to leave by a security officer who was assisted by an off-duty CPD officer.

Police said Marlon later fought with officers outside the building, when the off-duty Chicago officer, fearing Marlon may grab the CHA security guard’s weapon, shot and killed the man.

Attorneys representing Horton allege in the seven-count complaint that Marlon never committed a crime, and officers used excessive force against him.

In the complaint, Horton’s lawyers assert that the officers’ actions violated Marlon’s constitutional rights against illegal seizure and false arrest; that police officers used excessive force against Marlon; and that they acted with “willful indifference” to Marlon’s rights by failing to intervene to prevent the incident.

The suit also alleges that the officers and CHA guards “conspired together” to violate Marlon’s rights and that they acted “willfully, maliciously, intentionally, or with reckless disregard and gross negligence,” leading directly to Marlon’s wrongful death.

Further, Horton’s lawyers contend in their complaint that the incident is just part of a pattern of misconduct by the CPD and CHA security units.

“As a matter of widespread practice so prevalent as to comprise municipal policy, officers of the Chicago Police Department abuse citizens in a manner similar to that alleged by Plaintiff,” the suit states, adding “yet, the Chicago Police Department makes findings of wrongdoing in a disproportionately small number of cases.”

Horton's lawyers also claim that city officials engage in a “code of silence” concerning such incidents, leading police officers to “believe their actions will never be scrutinized and, in that way, directly encourages future abuses, such as those affecting decedent Marlon Horton.”

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