The sisterof a 38-year-old man who was shot to death by a an off-duty Chicago police officer has filed a federal lawsuit against the city, alleging there was a “code of silence” among police to cover-up the shooting.
The nine-count suit was filed Friday morning in U.S. District Court names the city and the officer. His name has not been released by the Chicago Police Department, though he is named in the suit.
Jose Nieves was shot by the 57-year-old officer, who is assigned to the mass transit unit, about 9:15 a.m. Monday in the 2500 block of North Lowell, according to Chicago Police. An “altercation” between the men escalated and Nieves was shot several times. He was unarmed at the time.
Nieves was taken to Illinois Masonic Medical Center, where he died from frommultiple gunshot wounds at 9:51 a.m., police and the Cook County medical examiner’s office said. His death was ruled a homicide.
The following day, Supt. Eddie Johnson stripped the officer of his police powers.
The lawsuit, filed by Nieves’ sister, alleges the CPD “conspired” to presentmisleading reports. It statesthe department’s “code of silence” prevents a proper investigation into civilians who are shot by Chicago police.
The suit also claims the officer threatened to arrest and physically harm Nieves.
The officer “had good reason to believe that his misconduct would not be revealed or reported by fellow officers or their supervisors … thereby protecting him from the consequences of his unconstitutional conduct,” the suit said.
CPD and Independent Police Review Authority have opened simultaneous investigations into the shooting.
Court records show Nieves had been arrested more than 20 times on charges that included domestic battery, theft, burglary and assault. He was convicted only once, in 2012, on charges of marijuana possession and possession of a replica gun. He was sentenced to court supervision.
The suit allegesconspiracy, wrongful death, unconstitutional seizure, battery among other claims. It seeks an undisclosed amount of damages.
A spokesman for the city’s Law Department said they had not seen the suit and could not comment.