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Man acquitted in Lake Shore Drive tragedy files malicious prosecution suit against city, police

Semaj Waters was charged in the 2016 death of 29-year-old Pamela Johnson, who was struck by a car on Lake Shore Drive while fleeing a robbery.

A man was charged in connection with a shooting from Dec. 22, 2020, in East Garfield Park.
Waters was found not guilty by a jury July 17, 2019.
Adobe Stock Photo

Nearly a year after being acquitted of murder, a man is suing the city and several police officers over his arrest in the 2016 death of a woman on Lake Shore Drive.

Semaj Waters filed the two count suit Monday in Cook County Circuit Court, accusing the city, three Chicago police detectives and two sergeants of malicious prosecution, according to the lawsuit.

Waters was charged with murder, mob action and attempted robbery in the May 29, 2016 death of 32-year-old Pamela Johnson.

At the time, police and prosecutors said Waters was among a group of seven or eight men who tried to rob her and her boyfriend near the lakefront, then chased the couple into traffic onto Lake Shore Drive, where a pickup truck hit them.

The suit claims police arrested Waters after a short investigation and without probable cause. He was acquitted of all charges on July 17, 2019, after a bench trial.

Waters suffered the stigma of being known as a murderer and lost the ability to earn an income for over three years as a result of being arrested and charged, the lawsuit claims.

He also contracted Legionnaires’ disease among other ailments while he was behind bars, the suit alleges.

A spokesman for the city did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday evening.

The lawsuit seeks a jury trial and unspecified damages.