Family of woman shot by off-duty cop files lawsuit

April 6, 2012 3:11:28 PM PDT
The family of a woman shot and killed by an off-duty Chicago Police officer is taking legal action. The family of 22-year-old Rekia Boyd has filed a wrongful death lawsuit.

The lawsuit names the officer who killed Boyd as well as the City of Chicago.

Boyd was killed two weeks ago. Chicago Police admit that Boyd was the unintended victim of the off-duty detective's gunfire.

How could the shooting be justified? That is the question the family of Rekia Boyd continues to ask as they mourn her loss.

The death of the 22-year-old who wanted to become a nurse has sparked several protests as her mother files a lawsuit against the off-duty Chicago Police officer she says opened fire on her daughter without any justification.

"It hurts. that's how it feels. It hurts. When they took my sister, they took a piece of all of us," said Martinez Sutton.

The family Of Rekia Boyd has filed a wrong death lawsuit alleging the woman was an unarmed, innocent bystander when she was shot by an off-duty Chicago Police officer.

"They want vindication for the life of their daughter. That's what it amounts to," said James Montgomery, plaintiffs' attorney.

The city is also named in the lawsuit.

Boyd died the day after the March 21 shooting. Witnesses say it was as Boyd and her friends walked back from Douglas Park after enjoying the warm weather that the group was confronted by an off-duty police officer.

Investigators say the off-duty officer, who lives in the neighborhood, was responding to people causing a disturbance in the 3100-block of 15th Place when 39-year-old Antonio Cross, who was in the group with Boyd, pointed a handgun at him, prompting the officer to open fire. At the time, Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said it appeared the shooting was justified.

"If we make a mistake, that's going to be investigated by IPRA, no matter how you slice it, if there's a problem with the case it's being independently investigated," McCarthy said.

But, attorneys for the Boyd family tell a different story, saying Cross had a cell phone and not a gun while accusing the cop of being the aggressor.

"The officer turned the corner," Montgomery said, "whereupon Mr. Cross, who had been slightly behind the group, heard the confrontation and said to the officer, 'We don't have no drugs for you, get the hell out of here.' "

That is when Montgomery says the officer began shooting from his car, striking Cross in the hand and Boyd in the back of the head.

Independent Police Review Authority spokesperson Iliana Rosenzweig said in a statement, "To date, IPRA is not aware of a weapon being recovered from Mr. Cross."

Meanwhile, as Boyd's family vows not to rest until they get justice, many in the Lawndale neighborhood remain on edge.

"Most are just scared," said Albert Harris, who works in the Lawndale neighborhood.

Cross was later charged with misdemeanor aggravated assault.

Boyd's attorney says no other gun was recovered at the scene, and they strongly believe the evidence, which includes six to 10 bullets recovered, will be linked to the off-duty police officer's firearm.

The City of Chicago says the investigation is ongoing, and they have not been served yet, and therefore don't have a comment at this time.