CHICAGO (WLS) --The family of a man killed by Chicago police nearly 11 years ago will soon receive a $2.2 million settlement from the city.
Emmanuel Lopez was shot 16 times by officers during a traffic stop. The 2005 police involved shooting was ruled justifiable by all investigative agencies, including the Cook County state's attorney's office. But Lopez' family sued the city, arguing there is proof officers were lying.
A decade after Lopez was shot and killed by Chicago police, the city of Chicago finally settled the case. Following a car accident and chase, the 23-year-old janitor was struck 16 times after several officers fired dozens of shots. Despite a $2.2 million payout to the Lopez family, city attorneys maintain that the 2005 Brighton Park shooting was justified.
"The city would argue that Lopez had run over one of the officers, pinning that officer under his vehicle, and that officers shot Lopez in order to save the officer's life," First Deputy Corporate Counsel Jane Elinor Notz said.
The Lopez family argues forensic evidence can prove that officers fabricated the story to cover up an unjustified shooting.
One of the officers who arrived on the scene after the incident was Jason Van Dyke, the cop charged with murdering Laquan McDonald. In a deposition, Van Dyke admitted to falsifying reports in the Lopez case.
The police-involved shooting never gained attention until members of City Council's Latino Caucus demanded answers a few months ago.
"You got to keep the pressure on because the first thing people say is, 'they're not telling the truth,'" said Ald. Proco "Joe" Moreno, City Council Latino Caucus. "You gotta keep pushing. Ten years is too long."
The city's law department said the case took so long because for years the Lopez family demanded up to $18 million. While city lawyers were prepared to defend the civil case at trial, they did not want to risk losing, so the city waited until both sides agreed to a reasonable settlement.
"It could have been more costly to our taxpayers, so, in a sense it was good that we decided that. But the problem is, we still have some pending issues with the officers that need to be addressed," said Ald. Ariel Reboyras, 30th Ward.
None of the officers involved in the Lopez shooting have been disciplined or criminally charged.
Two years after the incident, the Cook County state's attorney concluded the shooting was justified. The full city council is expected to sign off on the settlement.