A woman who says she was inside an SUV with a man when he was fatally shot by a Chicago Police officer in south suburban Hazel Crest almost two years ago has filed a federal lawsuit against the city.
Ryan Rogers, 27, was killed in the shooting that happened March 20, 2013 in the 1900 block of West 171st Street, authorities said at the time. L’nea Lancaster was in the vehicle with him when an officer opened fire, according to the suit filed Thursday in U.S. District Court.
Police at the time said detectives were conducting surveillance when Rogers and a female companion got into the vehicle. One of the officers then opened fire “in fear for his life” when Rogers accelerated the vehicle towards them, police said.
An autopsy found Rogers was shot in the back and his death was ruled a homicide, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.
Lancaster identified herself as Rogers’ girlfriend in an interview with the Sun-Times days after the shooting. Her suit does not name Rogers, referring only to a “friend” shot while driving the vehicle. A bullet pierced her seat in the SUV but did not strike her, according to the suit.
Police never identified themselves to the couple, and Rogers thought he was being robbed, Lancaster told the Sun-Times in March 2013.
In the suit, Lancaster claims that after the driver was shot, she took the wheel of the SUV and pulled over when she saw flashing lights behind her and realized it was the police.
Officers then “dragged her out of the vehicle” and put her into custody for about seven hours, causing “emotional and psychological damages,” the suit says.
A spokesman for the city’s law department said officials hadn’t yet reviewed the suit and declined to comment.
The three-count false arrest suit seeks an unspecified amount in damages and also names six Chicago Police officers as defendants.
Jacqueline Armstrong, Rogers’ mother, filed a federal lawsuit against the police officers days after the shooting, claiming one of them fatally shot Rogers “without just cause or just provocation,” that suit said. Her case is still pending with a status hearing scheduled for April 14, according to court records.