Family Files Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against Chicago Police Over Fatal Traffic Stop Shooting

Dexter Reed's family files wrongful death lawsuit against Chicago police after 96 shots killed him during a traffic stop, raising concerns about aggressive policing tactics and the need for reform.

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Muhammad Jawad
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Family Files Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against Chicago Police Over Fatal Traffic Stop Shooting

Family Files Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against Chicago Police Over Fatal Traffic Stop Shooting

The family of Dexter Reed, a 26-year-old Chicago man killed when plainclothes police officers fired nearly 100 times during a traffic stop on March 21, 2024, has filed an 81-page federal wrongful death lawsuit against the city and the five officers involved. The complaint alleges that the officers violated multiple laws and police department policies during the "predatory, violent, unlawful traffic stop" that left Reed dead.

According to the lawsuit, the officers did not properly identify themselves as police, lacked reasonable suspicion to stop Reed, used aggressive tactics, and unnecessarily escalated the situation. It claims the officers screamed commands with their guns drawn and failed to provide timely medical care as Reed lay in the street. "The officers created an environment that directly resulted in his death," the lawsuit states.

The Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA) has said that Reed fired at the officers first, and they returned fire, shooting 96 times in 41 seconds. However, the lawsuit does not mention this finding. It alleges that the Chicago Police Department promotes "brutally violent, militarized policing tactics" and that the tactical unit involved has "intentionally preyed on Chicago's young Black men in divested and low-income neighborhoods."

Reed's family remembers him as a kind, caring person who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder after being shot in a previous incident in 2021. The lawsuit provides details about Reed's life, including his basketball achievements and his struggles with physical and mental disabilities in the years leading up to his death.

Why this matters: The fatal shooting of Dexter Reed has sparked controversy and raised questions about police use of force and accountability in Chicago. The case highlights ongoing concerns about aggressive policing tactics, particularly in low-income and minority communities, and the need for reform and oversight of law enforcement practices.

The five officers involved in the shooting have been placed on administrative leave while the incident remains under investigation by COPA and the Cook County State's Attorney's Office. Reed's family is seeking a jury trial and unspecified monetary damages. They say they want to ensure the police department better complies with a court-supervised reform plan put in place after the 2014 fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald. "We want to save the lives of other young Black men in the city of Chicago," said Reed's mother, Nicole Banks, at a press conference announcing the lawsuit.

Key Takeaways

  • Family of Dexter Reed files wrongful death lawsuit against Chicago police
  • Lawsuit alleges officers violated laws, used aggressive tactics, and failed to provide care
  • COPA claims Reed fired first, but lawsuit does not mention this finding
  • Lawsuit seeks jury trial and damages, aims to ensure police reform compliance
  • Case highlights concerns about aggressive policing tactics in minority communities