SUN-TIMES MEDIA WIRE - A Chicago Police sergeant was sued Tuesday by the mother of a man he fatally shot last week — and the same sergeant was already facing a separate lawsuit for killing another man in 2013 while he was off-duty.
Sgt. John Poulos has been stripped of his police powers while investigators look into the death on Wednesday of Kajuan Raye in West Englewood.
Poulos said he saw Raye point a gun at him twice during a foot chase, but investigators were unable to find a weapon, authorities say. Raye was shot in the back.
About four minutes after the shooting, a supervisor asked over the police radio whether a gun was recovered. One of the officers at the scene responded “really?” but didn’t answer the question over the air, according to a recording.
Standing beside Raye’s mother, younger sister and about a dozen family and supporters at a press conference outside police headquarters on Tuesday, the family’s attorney, Michael Oppenheimer, called for a full criminal investigation of the teen’s shooting.
Raye’s mother, Karonisha Ramsey, is alleging in her lawsuit that Poulos acted with “reckless indifference” and used excessive force when he shot the 19-year-old man in the 1400 block of West 65th.
“This is the second time this officer shot an African-American man,” Oppenheimer said. “If he had been taken off the street Kajuan would be here today, but instead we’re here today at a press conference with a family that just came from the church” where they were making funeral arrangements.”
Reached on the phone, Poulos said he couldn’t comment.
On Tuesday morning, Police Supt. Eddie Johnson said that knowledge of Poulos’ previous fatal shooting — in which a gun also was not recovered — did not influence his decision to strip the sergeant of his police powers so swiftly after last week’s shooting of Raye.
“Each incident has to stand on its own individual merit,” Johnson told reporters after speaking at a Union League Club breakfast on police use-of-force policy.
“As I said before, I do have some concerns about the incident,” he said.
Poulos continues to face a lawsuit brought by the family of Rickey Rozelle in Cook County Circuit Court over the fatal shooting of the 28-year-old man in 2013.
Poulos was leaving a Lincoln Park sports bar owned by his family when he saw a man apparently trying to break into a building from a second-floor back porch, according to police records. Poulos identified himself as an officer and called 911.
He fatally shot Rozelle, a felon with mental problems, in a gangway in the 1900 block of North Lincoln Avenue, later telling authorities that Rozelle threatened to kill him and “turned toward [him] with a shiny, metallic object in or near his hand,” records show. No gun was found.
On the 911 recording, Poulos said, “He is on the ground. He refused to show me his hands,” according a Better Government Association report published in the Chicago Sun-Times this year. Later, Poulos said, “He refused to show me his hands and then he went into his pockets.”
Poulos was cleared of wrongdoing in the Rozelle shooting by both the Independent Police Review Authority and an internal investigation by the police department.
In 2013, Poulos was reprimanded for inattention to duty because his firearm accidentally discharged while he was in a foot pursuit in May 2012 in the South Chicago District, records show.
This year, Chicago Police have fatally shot 11 people, including two since Raye was killed. There were nine such deaths in all of 2015, 17 in 2014; and 13 in 2013, records show.