2 moms seek answers in sons' police shooting deaths

The mothers of two young men shot and killed by police officers are speaking out.
December 11, 2013 4:24:14 PM PST
The mothers of two young men shot and killed by police officers are speaking out.

They want answers about their sons deaths and are calling for justice.

The mothers of Jamaal Moore and Christian Green did not know each other before their sons were killed by Chicago police. Now, the women have come together not only looking justice but also the truth about how and why their sons died.

It's been almost a year since Jamaal Moore was laid to rest after he was shot and killed by Chicago police. The incident happened near Garfield Blvd. and S. Ashland. At the time, the 23-year-old's death caused outrage in the community because Moore was shot twice in the back.

"I don't know the full story of what happened, but I do know my son did not have a weapon in his hand when he was shot," mom Gwendolyn Moore said.

And according to his mother, nor did Christian Green have a weapon when he was shot in the back by police last July 4th. The Dusable High School senior was killed near 56th and State after police say he led officers on a foot chase.

"My main concern as a mother is that no child deserves to be shot in the back by anyone," said mom Patricia Green.

At the time of the Green shooting, police said the 17-year-old pointed a gun. Witnesses say there was no gun. Both the Green and Moore shootings were ruled homicides by the Cook County medical examiner. While the cases remain under investigation by the Independent Police Review Authority, the mothers and their attorneys want another set of eyes to investigate. They are hoping the new U.S. Attorney Zach Fardon will take a look. The Moores and Greens say they have been told nothing by Chicago police, and they want to learn the truth about how their sons died.

"If the investigation by Fardon reveals the shooting was justified then the family can deal with that," said Vivian Tarver-Varnado, attorney.

The U.S. Attorney's Office could not comment on whether the feds would look into both cases. The Moores and Greens have filed civil cases in federal court against the city of Chicago and the police department. The Cook Country State's Attorney's Office says it cannot take any action until the Independent Police Review Authority completes its investigation.

Gwendolyn Moore, along with Lindsay Taylor and Jaceta Smith, filed suit May 6 in U.S. District Court on behalf of Jamaal Moore, who was shot and killed by police Dec. 15, 2012.

Jamaal Moore was shot about 11:15 a.m. and was taken to Saint Bernard Hospital and Health Care Center, where he died about an hour later, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner's office.

According to the suit, officers pursued the vehicle Moore was in to a West Englewood gas station and when he exited the vehicle, they ran him over with a Chevy Tahoe SUV. The suit claims an officer then got out of the SUV to arrest the unarmed Moore, and shot him twice in the back "without any lawful justification.

When Moore's family heard he was in trouble, his mother Gwendolyn and sister Jaceta Smith, raced to the gas station, the suit claims. When the women asked police where Moore was, several officers "responded by laughing and by taunting Mrs. Moore and Jaceta" and refused to tell them Moore's whereabouts. The suit also claims the officers used racial slurs.

The six-count suit alleges wrongful death, excessive force, failure to intervene, intentional inflection of emotional distress, indemnification and the survival act.

According to a statement released by police, officers were searching for a group of people who broke into multiple trucks and robbed at least one driver at gunpoint, and were on the lookout for a gray SUV believed to be involved.

An officer saw a gray SUV heading east on 55th Street and began chasing it, FOP spokesman Pat Camden said at the time. The driver of the SUV lost control and crashed into a pole and multiple people began running out of the vehicle, he said.

An officer stopped one man, who Camden claimed fought the officer and "slammed the officer to the ground." Police said that as the two fought, the officer saw what he thought was a firearm and "in fear for both their lives, the officer fired, striking the offender." But law enforcement officials declined to say whether Moore had a gun.

An autopsy found Moore died of multiple gunshot wounds and his death was ruled a homicide.

The suit seeks an unspecified amount in damages.

A spokesman for the city's Law Department did not immediately respond to a request seeking comment on the suit.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.


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