Jury awards $5.1 million in fatal shooting by Chicago cop
A Cook County jury has awarded nearly $5.1 million to the family of an African-American man fatally shot by a white Chicago police officer nearly five years ago on the West Side.
The lawsuit largely hinged on whether Gary Smith, 37, was carrying a gun when he was shot by Officer Arkadiusz Pachnik, then a tactical officer assigned to the Austin District.
Police contended Smith had a gun, but some eyewitnesses, including his girlfriend, said he was not armed and actually had his hands up when Pachnik shot him multiple times, according to the family’s lawyers and their court filings.
They also alleged that police had planted a Glock semi-automatic firearm at the scene.
Smith’s killing in May 2014 occurred five months before black teen Laquan McDonald was shot 16 times by white police Officer Jason Van Dyke — a case that put the Police Department under unprecedented scrutiny for the way it investigates shootings by its officers.
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