The mother of a teenager shot by Chicago Police is asking the United States Justice Department to investigate her son’s case.
Patricia Green’s 17-year-old son Christian was shot and killed July 4, 2013, in a vacant lot on the South Side. Police initially said Green pointed a gun at them and that he had been shot in the chest. But an autopsy revealed that the youth was actually hit in the back, by an officer who fired eleven times.
“I just want justice,” Green said. “I want to know the truth—what really happened to my son.”
Green’s son was standing with a group of other young people near the Carter School, in the 5700 block of South Michigan Avenue, but fled the area as police approached. Pursuing officers chased him several blocks, and said they saw him attempt to drop a gun near the corner of 57th and State. The officers said he picked it up again and continued running.
Officer Robert Gonzalez told investigators that Green turned and pointed the weapon at him, prompting him to fire.
“Whether Laquan McDonald, or my son, or any other teenager that was shot in the back, we as citizens of Chicago, we deserve to know the truth,” Green’s mother said. “My son had his whole life ahead of him.”
“I have taken the deposition of the lead detective,” said attorney Victor Henderson, who represents the family. “I asked him point blank, once you learned that Christian was shot in the back, what did you do versus the early report that he was shot in the chest? He said, ‘nothing’.”
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The Independent Police Review Authority ruled that the shooting had been justified.
In a letter to Mayor Rahm Emanuel and State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, Henderson asks that the two officials request a Justice Department open a criminal investigation, because the family perceives a cover-up relating to the Green case.
“IPRA (Independent Police Review Authority) investigators conspired with the four policemen about what to say during interviews in order to further the cover-up,” the letter states. “Moreover, two eyewitnesses have stepped forward to say that Christian was no threat to Officer Gonzalez, and that he did not have a gun in his hand when he was shot.
Transcripts and audio tapes of the IPRA interviews with the four officers, obtained by NBC5 Investigates, showed that during those interviews, the IPRA investigator stopped the tape at least a dozen times. Henderson alleged those pauses in the recording were intentional, to allow the officers to formulate a cohesive version of events.
“This is a test case, and the first test since Laquan McDonald,” Henderson said. “Let’s just get the truth. That’s what we want—no more, no less.”