A man shot early New Year’s Day by a Chicago Police officer during a traffic stop on the Far South Side is suing the city and the officer who shot him.
Officers responding a report of shots fired in the West Pullman neighborhood spotted Dwane Rowlett, 44, when he ran a stop sign about 2:20 a.m. Jan. 1 near 120th and State Street, according to an arrest report.
Rowlett initially stopped the Hyundai SUV he was driving, but took off again when officers left their car, police said. They followed Rowlett for several blocks as it drove up onto a sidewalk and sideswiped several vehicles, including one driven by police.
Police said Rowlett refused to comply with orders by officers as they tried to take him into custody and was reaching for his right side when the officer shot him two times.
Rowlett disputes the narrative of the shooting provided by police, according to a lawsuit filed Thursday in Cook County Circuit Court. Rowlett says he wasn’t armed and didn’t pose an imminent threat to the officer when he was shot six times as he reached to release his seat belt to comply with their orders to get out of the vehicle.
Rowlett also says that when officers called for an ambulance they told a dispatcher he was a crash victim to avoid reporting that he had been shot by police.He was taken to Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn after the shooting for treatment.
Officers can be heard reporting shots fired by police to dispatchers in audio from dashcam footage released in March.
Rowlett was charged with a felony count of aggravated fleeing and misdemeanor counts of DUI and aggravated assault of a peace office, police said. He was ordered held without bail.
Rowlett pleaded not guilty to the charges in April and last appeared in court on the charges Dec. 7, according to court records.
Rowlett claims the officer was reckless when he fired his weapon and seeks at least $250,000 in damages for battery and infliction of emotional distress.
A spokesman for the city of Chicago did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The officer was placed on desk duty for 30 days after the shooting, which is department policy, police said.
The shooting is under investigation by the Civilian Office of Police Accountability.