Mother of Man Killed by Police Wants to Change 'the Way the Police Operate'
ENGLEWOOD — The mother of a man shot twice after a police chase on the South Side has filed a federal lawsuit to get police to change their tactics.
Gwendolyn Moore said she's furious police allegedly shot her son, Jamaal Moore, twice in the back, and claims police directed racial slurs at family and Englewood neighbors who gathered around her son's body after he was killed Dec. 15.
Moore appeared at a news conference Tuesday morning at the law firm of Sam Adam Jr. and Victor P. Henderson, 330 S. Wells St., who filed the lawsuit in federal court Tuesday against the city of Chicago, the Chicago Police Department and various individual officers.
"This city is coming to a crossroad — this city is boiling over," Adam said. "I see little difference between Jim Crow and police shootings where a gun is claimed but not found."
"I want the way the police operate to change. The way they handle and deal with the community needs to change," Moore's mother said in an interview last week. "I want justice for Jamaal."
Police said Moore's son Jamaal, 23, and four others were fleeing a robbery in an SUV when the vehicle hit a light pole at Garfield Boulevard and Ashland Avenue about 11 a.m.
Police union spokesman Pat Camden told the Chicago Tribune on the day of the fatal shooting that "several suspects in an SUV were reported to have broken into a stopped truck. The driver had gotten out of his truck and confronted the thieves, and they pulled out a weapon."
Last week, however, Camden told DNAinfo.com Chicago he had "no idea if there was a robbery" and said only that "there was a possibility of a connection" to "a gray SUV."
After the crash, witnesses said Moore was run over by a police vehicle while attempting to flee the wreck and was later pulled from under the police SUV.
Police said officers "may have struck" Moore with a marked vehicle. Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said Moore threw one officer around "like a rag doll."
Before Moore was shot and killed, officers feared he was reaching in his pocket for a weapon, police said. McCarthy later said the object he had was a flashlight. A gun wasn't recovered from the scene.
A Freedom of Information Act request for the police incident report came back redacted in its entirety because of the pending investigation.
A full investigation by the Independent Police Review Authority is pending.
Moore was pronounced dead at St. Bernard's Hospital at 12:13 p.m. Dec. 15, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office.
In separate accounts, both at St. Bernard's and the scene of Moore's death, his parents recounted obstacles in viewing their son's body.
Gwendolyn Moore said she remembers returning home from the scene of her son's fatal shooting hours later with no information about where his body was.
"It was 3:38 p.m. and I still did not know where he was," she said, "I had told one officer who I was and he said nothing but, 'Ma'am, get on the sidewalk.' ”
Moore said she "never had a problem with Chicago police officers until they executed my son.
"I believe in accountability," she added. "I'd rather him be alive, even in prison serving time if he had done something. Then I could at least still touch him."
Moore said she hopes the lawsuit eventually will improve relations between residents and police in neighborhoods such as Englewood.
"They're supposed to serve and protect, but I've found that they serve and protect each other," she said. "Things just have to change. I owe it to Jamaal and his son Liam, and I owe it to other parents to try and make a change."