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Jury awards $1.35 million to family of man slain by police

Copy photo of Kenneth Elrod in 2006. His wife, Maria Elrod was awarded a $1.35 million settlement in the death of her husband who was shot and killed by an off-duty Chicago police officer after a confrontation at a northwest side bar on April 7, 2006. Picture copied on February 10, 2012. | Richard A. Chapman~Sun-Times

A federal jury awarded $1.35 million to the family of a man shot to death by an off-duty Chicago Police officer after a confrontation at a Northwest Side bar, an attorney for the family said Thursday.

Officer Edward Yerke fatally shot Kenneth Elrod and his friend Demetri Centera on April 7, 2006. Attorney Gregory Kulis represented Elrod’s family in a lawsuit against Yerke, the city and other officers.

Kulis said a jury awarded Elrod’s family $1.25 million in the shooting and $100,000 in connection with an allegation that another officer used excessive force on Elrod in a bar before the shooting.

Centera’s family dropped out of the lawsuit in 2008, records show. In 2006, police said Yerke helped break up a fight involving Elrod at Magic Touch Club, 5728 W. Belmont. Elrod was thrown out. Later, Elrod and Centera were in a pickup that pulled up to Yerke’s Hummer at a stoplight at Belmont and Kilpatrick and pointed guns at Yerke, police said.

Yerke told investigators he shot the men because he feared for his life. At the time, investigators found he followed guidelines for the use of deadly force. Two guns were recovered from the pickup, police said.