The family of a 28-year-old man who was fatally shot by an off-duty Chicago police officer while unarmed last year has filed a civil rights lawsuit surrounding the shooting, which was captured on surveillance cameras.
Marlon Horton was attempting to visit his girlfriend at a Chicago Housing Authority building on the Near West Side around 6:45 a.m. on Sept. 7, 2013, according to the lawsuit.
The suit claims Horton’s phone had died and he couldn’t call his girlfriend to let him into the building so he asked an off-duty Chicago Police Officer, identified as Kenneth Walker, and a CHA security guard, Shaquila Moore, to call her.
When the pair refused, they allegedly asked Horton to leave the scene. As he was leaving, he began urinating near the officer’s car and a confrontation ensued, according to the suit.
Following the scuffle, both Walker and Moore pulled out their guns and Horton was eventually shot as he moved toward Walker.
According to a statement from Chicago Police on the day of the shooting, the off-duty officer was working a part-time job as a security guard at the Chicago Housing Authority building when he observed a female guard in a physical altercation with a male offender attempting to gain access to the property and shot at him.
Horton was taken to John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County where he was pronounced dead. An autopsy shows Horton had been drinking, the suit states.
According to the lawsuit, 911 transcripts show a dispatcher instructing Walker to give Horton medical assistance, but video from the scene shows no assistance given.
The surveillance footage captured at the scene was posted to the Live Leak website, where it has gotten nearly 120,000 views and generated more than 2,500 comments.
“Horton's family believes that under similar circumstances, if Marlon Horton had been white he would not have been shot and killed,” according to a release surrounding the lawsuit. “Each year Chicago officers arrest hundreds of people for being drunk and disorderly without fatally shooting them.”
Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy spoke about the incident Monday, saying he felt the officer “fulfilled his obligation.”
“At the end of the day the officer called 911 to report what occurred, which is providing medical assistance” McCarthy said. “The officer was just involved in a life or death situation, sometimes they’re not thinking straight…Comforting someone who you just had a life or death confrontation with is not an easy thing to do.”
The family, however, believes the shooting was unnecessary.
"It is as if African American men are considered a deadly threat in every encounter with the police even if those officers are African American themselves," the release said. "This is not white verses black, this is blue verses black."
An investigation by the Independent Police Review Authority is pending.