Chicago police shoot 13-year-old boy who fled from vehicle wanted in suburban carjacking
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CHICAGO (CBS) — The mother of a 13-year-old boy who was shot in the back by a Chicago police officer last week in the South Austin neighborhood is suing the city, claiming her son had raised his hands to surrender when he was shot.

The lawsuit, which identifies the boy only as “A.G.,” said the shooting is proof that there is a “widespread pattern and practice of using excessive force, including deadly force, against African Americans” within the Chicago Police Department.

A.G.’s mother, Cierra Corbitt, filed a federal lawsuit against the city and the officer who shot him on Thursday. The officer is not identified in the lawsuit, which refers to him only as John Doe Officer. 

“CPD’s shooting was wholly unjustified as A.G. was running away from the shooter, he was unarmed, and he posed no threat of harm to the officer who shot him or anyone in the vicinity,” the lawsuit states.

The officer was relieved of his police powers last week as the Civilian Office of Police Accountability investigates the shooting.

WATCH LIVE: Family, attorneys hold a news conference on the lawsuit

The chain of events that led to the shooting spanned more than two days. By all accounts at this point, the teen was unarmed when he was shot by police.    

Police Supt. David Brown has said, on May 16, a 2008 silver Honda Accord – which had been left with the keys running – was stolen from the 100 block of West Randolph Street in downtown Chicago, near City Hall.

At 7:32 p.m. on May 17, a Honda CR-V was also left running in Oak Park with a 3-year-old girl in the back seat, Brown said. Thieves came up and took the CR-V with the child inside, Brown said. This incident was described as a carjacking.

The little girl’s mother grabbed onto the car and was dragged before finally falling and breaking her clavicle, Brown said. The CR-V was found abandoned with the child inside shortly afterward, and the child was reunited with her parents.

Meanwhile, Oak Park police said the Honda Accord that had been stolen downtown the night before was also used as a getaway car in the Oak Park incident.

On May 18, the stolen Honda Accord repeatedly popped up on a license plate reader throughout the day and evening. At 10:12 p.m., license plate readers got a hit on the Accord at Roosevelt Road and Independence Boulevard in Lawndale. The Chicago Police helicopter caught up to the car, and its whereabouts was broadcast to ground units.

At 10:24 p.m. on May 18, police caught up to the Honda Accord and tried to pull it over, Brown said. Police tried to stop the car at Chicago and Cicero avenues, when the 13-year-old boy got out of the car, and started running through a gas station parking lot in the 800 block of North Cicero Avenue.

Brown has said that’s when the boy turned toward police officer fired his weapon and struck the boy once, Brown said.

The lawsuit claims A.G. obeyed officers’ commands to stop running and put his hands up, “but the officer still shot him – recklessly, callously, and wantonly – right through his back.”  

Sources with direct knowledge of the investigation also told CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot the boy was shot in the back. 

According to his mother’s lawsuit, the boy remains hospitalized, with a bullet still lodged in his body. The lawsuit says the boy has suffered spinal injuries, and his family is still waiting to find out if he’ll be paralyzed.

“While A.G. survived the shooting, he has been permanently and catastrophically injured and remains hospitalized,” the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit also claims the shooting was a result of serious flaws in the Chicago Police Department’s implementation of an official policy on foot chases.

While CPD implemented a temporary foot pursuit policy last summer, in the wake of two other high-profile police shootings that stemmed from foot chases, the department later delayed full implementation of a new foot chase policy, citing the need for further review. Although a newly revised policy was unveiled in February, it has not yet been finalized. CPD is now analyzing feedback before finalizing the policy this summer.

“Even though the City has known that foot pursuits are inherently dangerous and there have been numerous incidents where CPD officers chased and shot fleeing persons who posed no immediate threat, CPD inexplicably resisted implementing any foot pursuit policy for years,” the lawsuit states. “A.G.’s shooting was unnecessary and would not have occurred had CPD provided its officers with the training that both they and the residents of the City of Chicago deserve.”

The lawsuit also claims the city has been slow to implement court-ordered reforms mandated by a federal consent decree, in the wake of a scathing 2017 Justice Department report that accused the Chicago Police Department of “tolerating racially discriminatory conduct” by officers also singled out its pursuit practices for blistering criticism.

“While the City of Chicago is currently subject to a Consent Decree to address CPD’s long sordid history of using excessive force, leadership within the City and CPD have not taken those efforts seriously. As a result, there remains a widespread pattern and practice of using excessive force, including deadly force, against African Americans,” the lawsuit filed by the 13-year-old boy’s mother states.

A spokesperson for the city’s Law Department declined to comment on the lawsuit.

“The Law Department has not yet been officially served with the complaint through the proper legal channels. Upon receipt, the complaint will be reviewed. We will have no further comment as the matter is now in litigation,” Law Department spokeswoman Kristen Cabanban wrote in an email.

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