Chicago taxpayers could spend $1.2 million to compensate the family of a teenager killed by a police officer after a foot chase, though an investigation of the shooting didn’t result in any disciplinary action.
The proposed legal settlement is the largest of three tied to allegations of police wrongdoing on Monday’s agenda of the City Council’s finance committee.
The payout would go to the family of 16-year-old Pierre Loury, shot to death on April 11, 2016 after he ran from a car pulled over by Chicago police officers in the 3400 block of West Grenshaw Avenue in North Lawndale, about a block away from Loury’s home.
At the time, police said the car was stopped because it matched the description of one involved in a shooting earlier that day, and the officer fired at Loury as the teen turned toward him holding a pistol.
The shooting was investigated by the now-defunct Independent Police Review Authority, which ruled the shooting was within police policy and recommended no disciplinary action for Chicago Officer Sean Hitz, who chased and shot Loury.
According to court records, Hitz was in the police academy last year to become a detective. He had taken the promotional exam in 2016 and made the hiring list for detective in 2020.
“He makes a promotion list while this case is going on?” U.S. District Judge Sharon Coleman asked the attorneys representing the city in a hearing in March 2020. “City, the optics of that look really bad. I’m glad. Good for him.”
The Loury family had demanded IPRA release official police video of the shooting, but it was withheld because he was a minor.
Days after the shooting, a law-enforcement source told the Sun-Times Loury was carrying a gun that fell from his waistband as he scaled a fence during the chase.
Videos posted to social media after the shooting appeared to show Loury’s clothing had gotten snagged on the fence.
In a deposition, Hitz said he saw a gun in Loury’s right hand while he was on top of the fence. Then Loury dived off the fence and landed on the gun, Hitz said.
“He retrieved the gun and all in one motion turned around and pointed the gun at me,” Hitz added. “At that point, I fired twice.”
The medical examiner’s officer concluded Loury died from a bullet wound to the chest.
After the shooting, Loury’s mother, Tambrasha Hudson, said: “It wasn’t like him, he wouldn’t do that.”
In the hours after Loury’s death, conflicting portraits emerged.
Then-Deputy Police Supt. John Escalante told reporters Loury was a documented gang member who had “prior contact” with police, and a gun was found at the scene. In postings on Facebook and Instagram, Loury posed with what appear to be pistols or with friends brandishing guns.
Family and friends painted Loury as a teen who aspired to a career as a rapper — a vocation he tried to fuel with videos posted to YouTube and Facebook under the names “Pierre Santana,” “Polo” and “Shorty Lo.”
Classmates said Loury had steady attendance at Chicago Christian Alternative Academy and was quiet and reserved at school.
In a March 18, 2016 Facebook post, Loury wrote, “Always Worried Bout Da Police . . . I’m Focused On Keepin My Life… Rather Be In Jail Than Dead Anyday.”
Two days later, he posted a link to a newspaper article about the arrest of 18-year-old Dwon Wright on charges connected to a gang-related shooting that left three men wounded. “Free My F—in Boy,” Loury captioned the post.
A month after suing the city, Loury’s family filed an amended complaint saying then-Mayor Rahm Emanuel might be called to testify about the alleged “code of silence” in the Chicago Police Department if the lawsuit ever went to trial.
The amended complaint also accused Hitz and another officer of conspiring to give a false account of the shooting to cover up their misconduct by claiming Loury “placed them in imminent fear of bodily harm.” The lawsuit said Chicago police engaged in long-standing and racist practices that “result in the unjustified deaths of people of color.”
Andrew Stroth, the attorney for Loury’s family, declined to comment on the proposed settlement.