The mother of an East Hazel Crest man fatally shot by Chicago Police outside his south suburban home last week filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday against the officers.
Jacqueline Armstrong claims her son, Ryan Rogers, was at his apartment in the 1900 block of West 171st Street in East Hazel Crest when one of three police officers outside of their jurisdiction confronted Rogers and he left with a female friend on March 20, according to the suit filed in U.S. District Court.
Chicago Police said their detectives were conducting surveillance in the residential neighborhood when they saw Rogers, who they described as suspicious, and female companion climb into a vehicle.
When detectives approached, the man accelerated his vehicle towards an officer at a “high rate of speed” then struck a police vehicle, according to a Chicago Police statement.
One of the officers, “in fear for his life,” opened fire and shot the driver, police said. However, the suit claims the officer fatally shot Rogers “without just cause or just provocation.”
An autopsy found Rogers, 27, was shot in the back and his death was ruled a homicide, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office.
Rogers girlfriend, L’Nea Lancaster, told the Sun-Times she was the woman in the car and that police never identified themselves to the couple. She said she believes Rogers thought he was being robbed.
When they neared their white Chevrolet Trailblazer, she said, a green SUV and a brown van pulled up around the corner “very fast.” She said one of those two drivers pulled his car up near theirs and said to Rogers, “What’s up, man?”
Lancaster said Rogers simply looked at him and got in the car but she said Rogers was spooked when he realized the man in the van had gotten out of his car and had something in his hand.
“His first instinct is to get out of there,” Lancaster said of her boyfriend.
She said Rogers put his car in drive and pulled off really fast, sideswiping the van as shots were fired. By the time Rogers’ vehicle approached nearby Wood Street, she said, he was starting to pass out.
The suit also lists his two children, Ryan Rogers Jr. and Sy-Nai Rogers, and their mother, Kiara Nicholson, as plaintiffs.
“To date neither the [Chicago Police] Superintendent, [Garry] McCarthy nor the Chicago Police Department has explained to the family why these officers were there or why they confronted and killed Rogers,” according to a statement from Armstrong’s attorney, Gregory E. Kulis.
The five-count suit against the three unidentified officers claims the use of deadly force was “unprovoked and unwarranted.” Armstrong, of Richton Park, is seeking more than $1 million plus compensatory and punitive damages plus court costs.
A spokesman for the city’s Department of Law declined to comment Tuesday because the city is not listed as a defendant.
The Independent Police Review Authority, which looks into officer-involved shootings, is investigating.
--Sun-Times Media Wire, Sun-Times
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