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$1.25 Million Payout to Mom of Man Shot by Police Gets Council Committee OK

By  Ted Cox and Darryl Holliday | September 8, 2014 11:26am | Updated on September 9, 2014 8:00am

 City attorney Leslie Darling talks with aldermen before Monday's Finance Committee meeting.
City attorney Leslie Darling talks with aldermen before Monday's Finance Committee meeting.
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DNAinfo/Ted Cox

CITY HALL — A City Council committee approved a $1.25 million settlement Monday in the 2012 death of Jamaal Moore in a police shooting.

The Finance Committee sent the proposed settlement with Moore's mother, Gwendolyn Moore, to the full City Council for final approval Wednesday.

Ald. Edward Burke (14th), chairman of the committee, said the December 2012 incident was ruled "a clean shooting" by the Independent Police Review Authority, adding, "The officer was justified in what she did" in shooting Moore.

Yet city attorney Leslie Darling testified that police video showed Moore was "struck and dragged under a police squad car" before emerging to struggle with the shooting officer's partner, and was running away when shot. Darling said the the video "could inflame a jury," making the settlement advisable.

According to lawyer Victor Henderson, a "police cover up" has been in effect since that day, as claims by police have come into dispute. The department is relying on a "fraternal mentality" to protect "a few bad apples," he said.

The 23-year-old Moore was shot and killed at Garfield Boulevard and Ashland Avenue at the end of what Darling called a "high-speed pursuit" after a report of an armed robbery.

According to police, Moore was in a car with four other suspects when it crashed at the intersection late on a Saturday morning. The others escaped, but Moore was shot and killed by police.

Darling testified that bad weather contributed to the squad car striking Moore, who was "dragged several feet."

Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy stated at the time that Moore then clashed with an officer who was "thrown around like a rag doll," and that officer warned a colleague Moore was carrying a gun. The other officer shot and killed Moore, who wasn't armed with a gun, but a flashlight, McCarthy said.

According to Henderson and Moore's mother, a forensic investigation found no evidence of Moore's fingerprints on the flashlight.

Darling said video showed that one officer was "flipped head over heels" by Moore, who was "attempting to escape" when shot by the other officer, who believed Moore had a gun. Darling said the officer fired "for fear of her life and the life of her partner," but also said the video showed Moore was trying to flee when shot.

"No gun was found," Darling said. An initial claim from police that Moore was fleeing a robbery prior to his death was later denied by a spokesman from the Fraternal Order of Police.

Police officers Ruth Castelli and Christopher Hackett were named as defendants in the suit. Castelli is named as the shooter, Darling said, though both officers remain on active duty.

A melee at the intersection followed when a crowd formed and threw rocks and bottles at police, leading to five additional arrests.

Gwendolyn Moore sued the city and the two officers involved, charging excessive force and wrongful death, and seeking damages. She filed another lawsuit charging officers with racism and causing the street riot, but that suit is not part of the settlement.

Gwendolyn Moore said the $1.25 million settlement will largely go toward Jamal Moore's young son and those family members left behind, but "no amount of money could replace Jamaal's loss," she said.

"The $1.25 million doesn't even belong to [the police], that belongs to the taxpayers," she said. "It didn't affect the police at all," she said. "They have a budget set aside for this sort of thing."

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