Mother of Teen Boy Fatally Shot by Police Sues Officer, City - NBC Chicago

Mother of Teen Boy Fatally Shot by Police Sues Officer, City

The seven-count suit alleges wrongful death, reckless battery, intentional battery, assault and indemnification



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    The mother of a 16-year-old boy shot and killed by Chicago Police is suing the city and the officer she claims killed him, a former member of the now notorious Special Operations Section.

    On Aug. 22, 2008, Chicago Police officer Zachary Rubald shot and killed Martinez Winford in an alley near the intersection of 89th and Langley, according to the suit filed Monday in Cook County Circuit Court.

    The Independent Police Review Authority investigated the shooting and found the officer’s actions were justified. The suit, however, alleges there are holes in the account of the shooting provided by officers.

    About 7:45 p.m., Rubald and his partner pulled their squad car up to Winford and a group of other males to conduct a field interview. When officers pulled up, Winford took off running south. According to IPRA’s findings, the officers said Winford ran down an alley and pulled a handgun from his waistband.

    According to the IPRA investigation, the boy tried to jump over a gate, grabbing it with his left hand while turning and pointing a gun at the officers with his right hand.

    While sitting in the front passenger seat of the police car, Rubald fired twice, hitting Winford once in the chest, the suit claims. Winford—who had an infant daughter—was dead within an hour.

    A gun was found several feet away after the boy was shot, IPRA found.

    But according to the suit, Winford was left-handed and would have been aiming at the officers with his off-hand.

    Rubald was a member of the now-disbanded Special Operations Section. He also received the Superintendent’s Award of Valor, the highest award in the department, in 2010. His partner was also named as a defendant.

    Winford’s mother alleges that, after a review of the shooting scene, the version of events Rubald and his partner gave are false.

    “Analysis and extrapolation of the trajectory path of the bullet through Mr. Winford’s body likewise confirmed that he could not have been shot while turning back in the fashion described by the officers,” the suit stated.

    Winford’s mother alleges Rubald first fired while he and his partner were chasing her son through the alley and the teen’s back was turned to them. The first shot Rubald fired struck a garbage can. The angle the bullet entered the garbage can disproves Rubald’s claim that he fired at the boy while he was climbing a gate, the suit stated.

    According to the IPRA investigation, the officer said he fired two shots while the boy was at the top of the gate.

    “The trajectory of the bullet entry and exit holes through the garbage bin is downward, thereby refuting Rubald’s claim to have first shot upward at Mr. Winford while he was atop the gate pointing downward with a gun,” the suit stated.

    The seven-count suit alleges wrongful death, reckless battery, intentional battery, assault and indemnification. It seeks an undisclosed amount in damages.

    A spokesperson for the city’s Law Department could not be reached for comment Monday evening.