13-year-old shot by CPD officer was unarmed, raised hands: lawsuit

A federal lawsuit said the seventh grader who ran away from an allegedly stolen car was shot in the back, posed no threat.

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Cierra Corbitt speaks during a press conference outside John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital in the Illinois Medical District, Thursday afternoon, May 26, 2022, where attorneys representing Corbitt announced that they are filing a lawsuit against the city of Chicago and a Chicago police officer who allegedly shot A.G., Corbitt’s 13-year-old son.

Cierra Corbitt talks Thursday about the police shooting of her 13-year-old son.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

Lawyers for a 13-year-old boy who was shot by a Chicago police officer last week say the seventh grader had no weapon and had put up his hands when he was shot in the back as he ran from an allegedly stolen car.

The teen has been in the intensive care unit at Stroger Hospital for the eight days since the shooting and may be permanently paralyzed, attorney Andrew Stroth said in a press conference outside the hospital Thursday.

The boy’s family has filed a federal lawsuit against the as-yet unidentified police officer and the Chicago Police Department, arguing that the shooting was unjustified and faulting CPD for being slow to adopt reforms to address its “long sordid history of using excessive force.”

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“He might not walk again, he’s laying up there, crying all the time,” the boy’s mother, Cierra Corbitt, told reporters. “He just wishes he had stayed in the house that day, and it’s sad, he liked to play ball, he liked to ride bikes, he liked to play football ....

“They had no reason to shoot my child. He complied with them and all they had to do was grab him.”

The boy, identified in the lawsuit by the initials “A.G.,” has been hospitalized since he was shot on May 18 after bolting from a car that police had been chasing with multiple squad cars and a helicopter after an alleged carjacking in Oak Park.

An officer chased A.G. on foot after the teen jumped out of the stolen Honda Accord and shot him in the back, causing injuries to the teen’s spinal cord and internal wounds that have left the boy “permanently and catastrophically” injured, the lawsuit states.

“CPD’s shooting was wholly unjustified as A.G. was running away from the shooter, he was unarmed, and he posed no threat of harm to the officer who shot him or anyone in the vicinity,” the lawsuit states. “Multiple witnesses at the scene reported that A.G. was complying with the officers’ directive for him to put his hands up — and indeed his hands were up — when John Doe Officer shot him.”

At a news conference last week, Police Supt. David Brown said the boy turned toward police when he was shot but would not comment on whether his hands were raised. No weapon was found at the scene. Despite police radio traffic among officers during the chase that said shots were fired at pursuing officers, Brown said that no one had shot at police.

Brown said the Accord was stolen May 16 after it was left running in the 100 block of West Randolph Street. The car was then used in a carjacking the next night in Oak Park when someone in a black face mask stole a Honda CRV left running with a 3-year-old inside near Lake Street and Oak Park Avenue. The toddler’s mother was injured as she was dragged by the car as it drove off, but the child was found unharmed 15 minutes later when the CRV was discovered abandoned in the 200 block of Madison Street, Oak Park police said.

The carjacker was seen getting into the Accord, which Brown said had been located by license plate readers around Chicago throughout the day of the shooting, and came under surveillance of a police helicopter.

According to radio traffic, officers in pursuit of the car made a “10-1” call, meaning an officer in distress, and a dispatcher first says “shots fired at the police,” but then says “shots fired by the police” as officers chased a suspect from the car.

The Civilian Office of Police Accountability, which investigates police shootings and misconduct allegations, has so far refused to release body-worn camera video of the incident. COPA initially refused to release similar video from the camera worn by the officer who shot and killed 13-year-old Adam Toledo during a foot chase last year.

Stroth said Corbitt wants the video released immediately.

“She wants the world to see what they did to her baby,” he said.

Toledo ran from police who responded to a report of gunshots in the Little Village neighborhood, where police said the boy was with 21-year-old Ruben Roman as Roman fired at a passing car. Body-cam video shows Officer Eric Stillman chase Toledo through an alley, carrying the gun Roman allegedly had fired at the car. Just days after Toledo was shot, Officer Evan Solano shot and killed 22-year-old Anthony Alvarez during a foot chase in Portage Park. The city that June announced a temporary policy on foot pursuits, but has yet to adopt a permanent policy.

The lawsuit notes that CPD had no foot pursuit policy prior to last June, meaning officers have received little training on chasing suspects. The lawsuit says the officer who shot A.G. had been running with his gun in hand, a violation of the temporary policy.

The officer, who has not been named by the department, has been assigned to desk duty pending an investigation of the shooting. Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx in March announced she would not file criminal charges against him nor against the officer who shot Alvarez. COPA has forwarded results of its investigations to Supt. Brown, but the Police Board has not yet received any formal disciplinary charges from CPD related to either shooting, spokesman Max Caproni said Thursday.

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