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Family of man killed during traffic stop conducted by state police dispute official version of his shooting death

Family members contend Darren Green Jr. was not shot during a struggle with state troopers over a gun.

A picture of Darren Green Jr. is seen in this photo taken at the Parkway Ballroom in the Bronzeville neighborhood Wednesday morning, Oct. 21, 2020. Green’s family filed a lawsuit against the State of Illinois and two unidentified Illinois State Troopers who allegedly fatally shot Green in the head on Oct. 7, 2020 during a traffic stop in Harvey, Ill., according to the lawsuit.
Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

Attorneys representing family members of Darren Green Jr. argued Wednesday that Green was not shot during a struggle over a gun with state troopers earlier this month following a traffic stop in south suburban Harvey, but rather was the victim of excessive force who was shot by police in the head.

On Oct. 7 Green was a passenger in an SUV that was pulled over at 147th and Halsted about 12:30 a.m. A dashcam video released by state police shows two troopers pulling over the vehicle and asking the female driver why she didn’t have her headlights on.

A short time later, Green was shot when his gun went off during a struggle that happened inside the car, according to state police.

Illinois State Police video of fatal shooting during Harvey traffic stop

At a news conference Wednesday, Andre Grant, a lawyer representing Green’s family, argued there was no struggle for the gun. Grant said the video shows a trooper on the driver’s side lean into the car and briefly emerge with the gun in his hand before again leaning into the car, which seconds later jolts forward and crashes into a bus stop.

“We can see on the video the officer take the gun out of the car, he has possession of the gun and what he was supposed to do was secure the weapon, that’s the first thing you’re taught, secure that weapon, instead of doing that, he went back into the car,” Grant said.

“What we know for certain is there is no struggle over the gun; Darren Green Jr. was shot in the back of his head,” said Grant, who filed a wrongful death suit in Cook County on behalf of family members.

A spokeswoman for the Cook County medical examiner’s office said Green was shot in the head but could not immediately confirm he was shot in the back of the head.

The state police issued a statement Wednesday: “The Division of Internal Investigation is committed to transparency as they investigate all officer involved shootings. ... To respect the integrity of this ongoing investigation, the Illinois State Police cannot comment further at this time.”

Green, who was from Chicago, had two children and was expecting a son to be born in January, his attorneys said.

Grant said he has no confidence that state police can effectively investigate its own troopers and said he sent letters to Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul and Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx requesting independent investigations.

A spokeswoman for Foxx said her office reviews all police shootings but couldn’t comment further. A spokeswoman for Raoul didn’t immediately respond.

“I want justice for my son,” said Green’s father, Darren Green Sr. “ This is unjust, and this is a constant thing that’s going on with these young Black males out here.”

Donna Jones, the mother of Darren Green Jr., in blue, embraces a family member after a press conference Wednesday at the Parkway Ballroom in Bronzeville.
Donna Jones, the mother of Darren Green Jr., in blue, embraces a family member after a press conference Wednesday at the Parkway Ballroom in Bronzeville.
Pat Nabong/Sun-Times
Darren Green Sr. demands justice for his son during a press conference Wednesday at the Parkway Ballroom in Bronzeville.
Darren Green Sr. demands justice for his son during a press conference Wednesday at the Parkway Ballroom in Bronzeville.
Pat Nabong/Sun-Times