The family of Pedro Gonzalez has filed a lawsuit over the Chicago police shooting death of the 21-year-old man.
In the lawsuit, the family claims that the Chicago police wrongly shot the West Humboldt Park man who was unarmed and presented no threat to police officers. They also accuse the police of pressuring witnesses against Gonzalez and making false claims that the young man was armed, reports the Chicago Tribune.
In June, three police officers saw Gonzalez and claimed he had a gun in his waistband, reports the Tribune. The officers gave chase when they say that Gonzalez pulled out his gun. The Chicago police then responded by fatally shooting Gonzalez several times.
In their lawsuit, Gonzalez's family says the police report was a lie as the dead man was unarmed and never posed a threat.
When it comes to claims of police brutality, the police are generally given some leeway to perform their job. Law enforcement is inherently a violent job, and police officers are expected to use a certain degree of force when upholding the law.
However, there are limits on the amount of force they may use. For example, if a criminal suspect is shooting at cops after fleeing a murder scene, cops are likely within their bounds to fire back. However, if a criminal suspect is believed to have shoplifted, police firing the suspect multiple times in the back would likely be excessive.
In the Chicago police shooting lawsuit, whether Pedro Gonzalez's family can recover will likely turn on how big a threat the man was. If he had a gun as police claimed, then the shooting may be justified. Otherwise, the shooting may be excessive. Unfortunately for the family, they will have to prove not only that Gonzalez was unarmed, but also that six police officers are actively engaged in a cover-up.