Chicago Police Sued in Videotaped Death


     CHICAGO (CN) - A white Chicago policeman shot an unarmed black man to death and then lied that his victim had a gun, but a surveillance video shows otherwise, his aunt claims in court.
     Laquida Cockerham, administrator of her nephew Alfontish Cockerham's estate, sued Chicago and police Officer Anthony Babicz on Feb. 17 in Cook County Court.
     Alfontish, 23, was "walking along the sidewalk with several persons and was engaged in lawful activity" in the South Shore neighborhood around midnight on June 20, 2015 when several police officers arrived, according to the complaint.
     Seeing the police leave their patrol cars, "decedent Cockerham walked briskly on the eastern sidewalk of South Merrill Avenue," toward East 71st Street, his aunt says in the lawsuit.
     While Babicz followed on foot, Cockerham "looked over his shoulder and then broke out running" as he turned onto the northern sidewalk of East 71st, the complaint states.
     Babicz "at the same time broke out into a full sprint, pursuing decedent Cockerham," who did not have a weapon, pose a threat, or commit any crime, his aunt says.
     Her nephew then "reverse[d] course in a matter of seconds, running with great speed northbound by the eastern curb on South Merrill Avenue, away from East 71st Street."
     Babicz then "stopped running and adopted a shooting stance," and shot repeatedly at Cockerham's back. "At least three of the multiple gunshots fired by Babicz struck decedent Cockerham, causing [him] to fall onto the street in front of a parked car," according to the complaint.
     As Cockerham "lay on the street, writhing in pain, unarmed and hands raised up in the manner of surrendering, defendant Babicz either shot at him and/or placed him in reasonable apprehension of receiving a battery by pointing a handgun at decedent Cockerham in a very threatening manner," the complaint continues.
     Babicz shot Cockerham in his left and right buttocks and right groin, causing a "massive loss of blood," a severely low heart rate and "prolonged 'pulseless electrical activity' for an estimated 20 to 30 minutes, and [he] lost consciousness" as he lay in the street, his aunt claims.
     Despite efforts to resuscitate Cockerham at Northwestern Memorial Hospital starting at 12:43 a.m., he remained "essentially comatose" for nearly six days, the complaint states.
     Then-Deputy Police Chief Berscott Ruiz told the press that Cockerham had pointed at Babicz a .45 caliber handgun found at the scene; Cockerham was fingerprinted at the hospital while comatose, and charged with aggravated assault on an officer and another felony.
     But the police story is "palpably false, contradicted by the physical evidence, the location of the shooting, the respective locations and points of entry of the gunshot wounds sustained by decedent Cockerham, security camera video footage , and civilian eyewitness accounts of the shooting," his aunt says in the lawsuit.
     A Pay Day Loan Store's security camera directly over the eastern sidewalk of South Merrill Avenue, just north of East 71st Street, shows that Cockerham never pointed a gun at anyone, and backs up the plaintiff's story, the complaint states.
     "On June 25, 2015, with his next-of-kin at his bedside, decedent Cockerham suffered a cardiac death at approximately 22:57 hours," according to the complaint.
     Brown seeks damages for wrongful death and multiple counts of assaults and battery and wantonness
     She is represented by Nnanenyem Uche and Morris Anyah in Chicago.