Family of man slain by police on Mother's Day 2014 sues Chicago over wrongful death, civil rights violations

By Jonathan Bilyk | May 11, 2015

The family of a man who was shot and killed by Chicago Police on Mother’s Day 2014 have sued the Chicago Police Department and the officers involved, alleging they violated his civil rights when they pursued him and then wrongfully killed him.

On Monday, May 11, Dasha Davis and Ramar Brown, adult children of the deceased Gary J. Smith, filed suit in both Cook County Circuit Court and federal court in Chicago against the city of Chicago and the associated police officers for the May 11, 2014, police shooting in which Smith died.

According to official reports issued shortly after the shooting last year, police responded at 2:30 a.m. to an altercation at the intersection of West Madison Street and North Lotus Street in the South Austin neighborhood. When they arrived, police said they witnessed two groups of people shouting at each other. In one group, police said, the man later identified as Smith was allegedly seen pointing a weapon in the direction of a large group of people.

According to published reports, Smith then fled on foot, and police said they pursued. Police told Chicago newspapers reporting on the incident Smith then pointed a handgun at police, who shot him.

Smith later died of the gunshot wounds at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood.

In their complaints, Davis and Brown dispute the official police account, saying when police arrived at the scene in the early morning hours of May 11, 2014, Smith was “engaged in lawful activity” when police began pursuing him, “causing him great fright.”

The complaints allege the officers, whose identities are not disclosed in the complaints, “began shooting at” Smith, hitting multiple times.

The complaints allege the shooting was an “unwarranted, unjustifiable and unreasonable use of force” by the police officers.

In their Cook County complaint, Davis and Brown allege seven counts against the officers and the Chicago Police Department, including intentional and reckless battery and assault.

They have requested more than $50,000 in damages in the Cook County complaint.

In their federal complaint, Davis and Brown allege five counts against the officers and the department, including excessive force, wrongful death and conspiracy.

In this complaint, they have requested unspecified compensatory, punitive and exemplary damages.

Davis and Brown are represented in the actions by attorneys Irene K. Dymkar and Torreya L. Hamilton, of Chicago.

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