Lawyers for the City of Chicago have reached tentative agreement to pay $2.2 million to the family of a 23-year-old man shot 16 times by police in 2005.
Emanuel Lopez was hit in a hail of gunfire, after allegedly attempting to run down a Chicago police officer with his car. In a bit of historical irony, one of the first officers on the scene was Jason Van Dyke, who later would be charged with murder in connection with the shooting of teenager Laquan McDonald in 2014.
“This is a case that has been long overdue to be settled,” said 12th ward alderman George Cardenas. “Ten years in the making.”
A total of 42 shots were fired at Lopez. Sixteen hit him, including 14 in the back. Attorney Terry Ekl, who represented the family, said ballistics experts had determined that at least one of those was fired by the officer who said he had been run over by Lopez’s car, casting doubt on whether the story was even true.
At a press conference held shortly after filing his suit, Ekl pointed to a large photo depicting the tire tracks on the police cruiser, which he said had been compared to the imprints on the officer’s pants.
“This tire, did not make those impressions,” he said.
Nevertheless, the case continued for more than ten years. In December, as Cardenas and the City Council Hispanic Caucus called for settlement, the City Law Department suggested no settlement was imminent.
“This incident took place ten years ago,” they said in a statement. “It was determined to be justified by all investigating bodies, including the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office, which conducted its own independent criminal investigation.”
By this week, that stance had changed.
“There were doubts about how the shooting occurred and how those bullets entered his body,” said Cardenas. “If he’s attacking the officers, how does somebody attack from the back? How is it that I walk backwards to attack somebody? It doesn’t make any sense!”
The settlement is scheduled to be presented to the City Council Committee on Finance on Monday. If approved, it will go to the full Council two days later.