The mother a Chicago teen shot and killed the day before Thanksgiving filed suit in federal court Tuesday against the officer who pulled the trigger.
Karonisha Ramsey filed a complaint against Chicago Police Sgt. John Poulos in the U.S. District Court Northern District of Illinois Eastern Division, alleging the sergeant acted with “reckless indifference” when he shot her son, 19-year-old Kajuan Raye, in the back as he fled.
“Unfortunately, we are here today because a member of the Chicago Police Department has gunned down an unarmed African American young man, Kajuan Raye,” said Michael Oppenheimer, Ramsey’s attorney, in a video filmed outside police headquarters Tuesday. “He ran. He was unarmed. He ran … because he was afraid of what might happen by the police and his fears turned out to be unfortunately correct.”
According to court documents, Poulos approached Raye at a bus stop on West 65th Street on Nov. 23. A foot chase ensued and Poulos says Raye pointed a gun at him twice before he decided to shoot the teen, killing him.
Responding officers never recovered any weapons from the scene.
Oppenheimer called Poulos’ claim of seeing Raye wielding a gun “simply ridiculous” and “another attempt to cover up another fatal shooting by the Chicago Police Department.”
Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson relieved Poulos of his police powers on Saturday, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.
“Having been a police officer for 28 years, I know that this job is not easy and the decision to use force is extremely complex and must be made in seconds without the benefits of formal reviews and deliberations,” Johnson said in a statement shared with multiple media outlets. “However, based on the little information we know at this point, I have concerns about this incident and feel this decision is in the best interest of the department and the people of Chicago as we await a methodical and impartial investigation into exactly what transpired.”
It’s not the first time Poulos has been sued for shooting an unarmed civilian, either, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
The family of 28-year-old Rickey Rozelle filed suit in county court after Poulos shot and killed him on North Lincoln Avenue in 2013, the newspaper reports.
Poulos encountered Rozelle, described by the newspaper as a felon with mental problems, as he was leaving a sports bar in Lincoln Park. He believed Rozelle was trying to break into a building from a second-story porch and called 911. He told investigators Rozelle threatened to kill him and brandished a “shiny, metallic object in or near his hand.”
No gun was recovered from that scene, either, the newspaper reports. The Independent Police Review Authority and the Chicago Police Department later cleared Poulos of any wrongdoing.