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Family of man fatally shot while fleeing Chicago police files lawsuit

CHICAGO — The family of a man killed by police in Chicago have filled a wrongful death lawsuit against the city and the Chicago Police Department, reports CBS Chicago. Family says the video released by a Chicago investigative agency shows that Maurice Granton Jr. wasn't armed and didn't pose a threat when he was shot by officers conducting a drug investigation on June 6. 

Officers earlier that evening tried to question Granton as part of a drug investigation, but he fled, authorities have said. Police said he ignored their orders to stop, pulled a gun and was shot by one of the officers. Investigators said they recovered a gun Granton had been carrying and that there's evidence it had been fired.

Log 1089772 Body-Worn Camera #2 by COPA Chicago on Vimeo

But Granton's family disputes the police account that there was an "armed encounter." A family lawyer, Antonio Romanucci, said a gun was found about 20 to 25 feet away from Granton's body, but said many questions remain unanswered about the firearm, reports the Chicago Tribune. Family has said it didn't belong to him.

The lawsuit alleges that Granton posed no threat of harm to the officer, Sheldon Thrasher, other officers or the public when he was fatally shot, the Tribune reports. An autopsy later revealed he was shot in the back.

The lawsuit, filed in Cook County Circuit Court, reportedly names the city and Thrasher as defendants.

The Civilian Office of Police Accountability, or COPA, which investigates police shootings, posted the video on its website Wednesday. Other video showing officers chasing Granton earlier are also included, as is radio traffic between officers. The board has not yet ruled whether the shooting was justified.

"Nowhere on the videos do you see my son armed, and nowhere on the videos do you see a confrontation," Granton's father told reporters. "My son was running away."

In the video, one officer is seen firing from a sidewalk just as Granton grabs the top of a wrought-fence around a vacant lot to pull himself over. He falls, writhing on the ground, seemingly unable to move his legs.

Romanucci said Granton Jr.'s hands were on a fence when he was shot, proving he wasn't holding a gun.

"Maurice did not have a weapon in his hands when he was shot," Romanucci said.

There's no sound for the first 30 seconds of the video of the shooting. When the sound comes on, the officer keeps his gun trained on Granton and tells another officer there's a weapon on the ground some 20 feet away. "Go get the weapon. Get the weapon," he says.

Minutes later, a crowd can be seen beginning to gather in the Bronzeville neighborhood on the city's South Side, some people yelling at police and others frantically calling Granton's name.

Family attorney Andrew M. Stroth argued the video showing the shooting contradicts the initial police narrative that there was an armed confrontation right before the shooting.

"It shows an unarmed black man running away from police, and police don't have a right to shoot and kill in that situation," Stroth said.  "We continue to have young black men unjustifiably shot by police. When is it going to stop?"

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