The family of a man who was shot dead by a Chicago police officer in the Austin neighborhood in 2014 was awarded $5 million by a Cook County jury Friday.
Gary Smith ran away from the intersection of West Madison and North Lotus streets as multiple police vehicles rolled up to an early morning party at a barbershop on May 11. Smith was shot by officer Arkadiusz Pachnik when Smith allegedly pulled a gun.
Pachnik’s account differed from witnesses, who said Smith had no gun, according to a lawsuit filed by Smith’s children, Dasha Davis and Ramar Brown. Pachnik said he kicked the weapon away from Smith after shooting Smith seven times. Police also said Smith confessed to having a gun as he lay dying in the street and again while riding in an ambulance to a hospital.
Lawyers for Smith’s family also pointed out a suspiciously large amount of missing evidence, ranging from dashboard camera footage from another officer’s vehicle that was manually shut off as it filmed Pachnik walking away from Smith’s body, holding only one gun in his hand.
Police reports and notes, GPS data and video from other cars also was missing, and CPD could not provide the Smith family’s lawyers with recordings of any dispatcher communications from around the time of the shooting, according to the lawsuit.
Law Department spokesman Bill McCaffrey said the city was disappointed by the verdict and said city officials are considering their options.