Mother of Kajuan Raye: COPA’s gun claim is ‘bulls—-’

Kajuan Raye was killed by a Chicago police sergeant in 2016 after the sergeant said Raye pointed a gun at him. COPA said the gun was recovered three months later.

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Karonisha Raye, mother of Kajuan Raye, wipes tears away from her face during a press conference outside Chicago police headquarters Friday afternoon. | Megan Nagorzanski/Sun-Times

The mother of a man who was shot to death by a Chicago police sergeant said Friday the ruling from the city’s police oversight agency, which found the shooting justified, was nonsense.

Karonisha Raye, the mother of 19-year-old Kajuan Raye, was especially skeptical of the Civilian Office of Police Accountability’s assertion that the gun her son allegedly pointed at the officer was found three months after he was killed.

“I think that’s bulls---,” Karonisha Raye said during a press conference outside CPD headquarters in Bronzeville. “I think that’s a lie.”

In a statement issued in response to her accusations, COPA offered its condolences to the family but defended its investigative practices.

“The loss of life is always significant, and we give our condolences to the family,” the statement said. “As the administrative investigative agency for the city of Chicago, careful consideration is always given to the civilian and law enforcement interviews, laws and general orders that govern the actions of the Chicago Police Department officers and evidence in each investigation before reaching a conclusion.”

CPD Sgt. John Poulos shot and killed Kajuan Raye on Nov. 23, 2016, near 65th and Marshfield. Poulos told investigators Raye pointed a gun at him, prompting him to open fire. Kajuan Raye died of a gunshot wound to his back.

Kajuan Raye was fatally shot by Chicago Police Sgt. John Poulos in November 2016.

Kajuan Raye


“I don’t care what they say they found,” Karonisha Raye added. “My son did not point no gun at that police officer. He knew better. He know better. He know he would get killed pointing some gun at some damn police officer.”

Court records show while he’d been arrested three times in the year and a half before his death on trespassing, theft and marijuana possession charges, Kajuan Raye had not been arrested on any gun charges.

His family — which also called for criminal charges to be filed against Poulos — has filed a lawsuit against the city, which is still pending.

COPA released its findings last April. In the report, the agency also said Kajuan Raye’s social media activity factored into their conclusion.

After obtaining warrants to search the teen’s social media, COPA found that a day before the shooting, Raye sent a photo to another person that appeared to show a Kahr Arms CW40 pistol — the same type of gun eventually recovered by police.

Raye was the second person shot to death by Poulos, who was promoted to sergeant after a recommendation from former First Deputy Supt. Kevin Navarro in February 2016.

Poulos fatally shot a suspected burglar near a former Lincoln Park bar that was owned by he and his family in 2013. The man was unarmed, and Poulos was cleared in the shooting.

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