Wrongful death lawsuit: Family of dad killed by CPD during mental health crisis awarded $742K

One of the former CPD officers named in the lawsuit, Patrick Kelly, has a history of problems
CHICAGO (WLS) -- A civil jury has found two Chicago police officers -- one with a history of problems -- and the city liable for the shooting death of a 21-year-old father who was killed in 2014 during a mental health crisis.

The video featured is from a previous report.

Hector Hernandez was shot 13 times at his girlfriend's home in the 2500 block of West 50th by former CPD officers Patrick Kelly and Antonio Corral.

Hernandez's two children will be awarded $742,500, according to Romanucci & Blandin, LLC, the law firm representing the family.

The award would have been higher but the jury found the officers carried 55% of the fault in the incident and Hernandez 45%, according to the family's lawyers.

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"As we approach the 8-year anniversary of Hector's death, his young children continue to grieve the loss of their father," said Antonio M. Romanucci, Founding Partner of Romanucci & Blandin, LLC, in a statement. "Today's verdict provides a measure of justice for the family but can never replace the loss of a father who was truly loved. This young man in crisis needed to be met with help and human compassion, not aggression and weapons."

On April 7, 2014, Hernandez was set to take one of his children to Chuck E. Cheese when he and his girlfriend began arguing and police were called to the scene, the family's lawyers said.

When officers arrived, they surrounded Hernandez as he was experiencing an acute mental health crisis and holding a kitchen knife to his neck, threatening to harm himself.

RELATED: CPD panel votes to fire former officer Patrick Kelly, who shot friend, then lied about it

When Hernandez tried to move away from the officers, Kelly and Corral opened fire, shooting him 13 times, including 8 times in the back, the family's lawyers said. Hernandez died at the scene.

The city's law department had "no comment," on the case.

Former officer Patrick Kelly's Past

Kelly, one of the officers in the lawsuit, was involved in another case from 2010 that ended in a nearly $45 million misconduct verdict.

Hernandez's attorneys previously highlighted Kelly's history: 27 complaints filed against him since he started in 2004, which included the Michael LaPorta case on January 12, 2010. On that day, the Kelly shot his friend LaPorta in the head after a night of drinking and in 2017, a jury awarded LaPorta $44 million.

Then in 2021, the Chicago Police Department's disciplinary board voted to fire Kelly, who had allegedly lied about the shooting for years. Officials said Kelly told investigators at the time and for years after that LaPorta shot himself in a suicide attempt.

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Cook County prosecutors reviewed the LaPorta case and declined to prosecute Kelly shortly after the shooting. But the family's civil attorney argued that Kelly was mentally unfit for duty, and a federal jury ruled in their favor, awarding the family millions of dollars.

An appeals court tossed out the ruling, saying the city can't be held liable for the LaPorta shooting. The judge wrote that because none of LaPorta's federal rights were violated, the verdict against Chicago cannot stand.

Kelly was stripped of his police powers but continued to draw his annual salary of $87,000 until he went on disability leave in 2021 before the board recommended he be fired.

The Sun-Times Media Report contributed to this post.
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