Family of Teen Fatally Shot by Chicago Officer Files Suit

The family of a 19-year-old man fatally shot by a police officer on Chicago's South Side Wednesday night has filed a lawsuit against the sergeant involved and the city. 

The lawsuit, filed by Karonisha Ramsey, the mother of Kajuan Raye, claims the officer opened fire "without lawful justification or excuse" and calls the shooting "unreasonable under the circumstances."

"We're asking for a full and complete criminal investigation and if it warrants it, that charges be taken," the family's attorney, Michael Oppenheimer, said Tuesday. 

Raye was fatally shot in the back while running from an officer, according to police and autopsy results. The officer who shot him claims the 19-year-old pointed a gun at him twice during the chase, but investigators have not yet found a weapon. 

“We conducted and completed a grid search during the overnight hours for ballistic evidence and the offender’s weapon and we were not able to locate a weapon as of yet,” Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson said during a news conference Thursday. 

"There was no gun," Oppenheimer said. "There stll is no gun and there won't be a gun because Kajuan did not have a gun."

Johnson relieved the officer of police powers pending the completion of the Independent Police Review Authority's case, calling the decision "the most serious action the department can take during an open investigation."

Johnson's decision came after an autopsy found that Raye died from a gunshot wound to the back, the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office said Friday, ruling his death a homicide. 

CPD added in a statement Saturday that "the chronology of actual events is still not clear and the department has many unanswered questions."

The incident occurred just after 11 p.m. Wednesday night, when officers responded to a report of a "battery in progress" in the 1400 block of West 65th Street in Chicago's Englewood neighborhood, according to a statement from police. 

When a sergeant arrived at the scene and identified himself as a police officer, he said Raye fled, then twice pointed a gun at him during the subsequent pursuit. The officer opened fire in the 6500 block of South Marshfield, a few blocks from where the chase began, striking Raye multiple times. 

Raye, of 1400 block of East 156th Street in suburban Dolton, was taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center where he was pronounced dead, authorities said. The sergeant was not injured in the incident. 

"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 announcing the decision to relieve the officer of police powers on Saturday.

"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."

Raye’s family said the teen was running because he was scared.

“He is a young black male and they are afraid of the police,” his cousin Ahkeya White said. “They do not believe the police are there to protect and serve.”

The officer involved in the shooting has not yet been named, but officials confirmed the sergeant was involved in a similar case in 2013. That incident, however, was not a factor in the decision to relieve the officer of his police powers, Johnson said. 

"It's just a process we have to go through," Johnson said Tuesday. "Relieving them of their polive powers is just a part of that process. It's not making judgement on what happened. It's just a part of the process that we have to go through until we get to the bottom of what it is in fact happened." 

IPRA, which has jurisdiction over officer-involved shootings, continues to investigate the incident.

"I just want justice for him," said Raye's sister Kaia Raye. "This is crazy. I can't believe it still."

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