Lawsuit against CPD claims 'unprovoked' use of force, violation of foot pursuit policy in fatal shooting

A federal lawsuit accuses a Chicago police officer of using "unprovoked and unwarranted" force and violating the department’s foot chase policy when they shot and killed Reginald Clay Jr. over the weekend in East Garfield Park.

The officer "chased him down and shot him several times, despite no need for this use of deadly force," the lawsuit states. "The police chased him and attempted to seize him in violation of the Chicago Police Department foot pursuit policy."

Clay was leaning against a car, talking to friends, Saturday morning in the 3800 block of West Flournoy Street when police officers approached and he took off running, according to statements released by the department and the Civilian Office of Police Accountability.

Both said Clay was shot when he turned toward the officers. And both said a gun was found on him.


Neither the department nor COPA describes Clay holding the gun when he was shot, though CPD Deputy Chief Rahman Muhammad told reporters on the scene that Clay turned toward the officer and "brandished a handgun."

Neither COPA nor the department has provided any additional information about the gun.

In addition to the use of excessive force, the lawsuit accuses the officer of breaking the department’s new, more stringent rules governing foot chases because there was no apparent reason to pursue him.

Clay took off "to avoid being hassled," the lawsuit states, adding that "there were no facts to make anyone believe that (he) was committing a crime or breaking any laws."

The lawsuit says Clay was heading to a friend’s funeral when he was shot. "Clay Jr. later succumbed to his gunshot wounds and died, leaving loving parents and a 3-year-old daughter who now must grow up without her father," the family’s lawyer wrote.

A controversial foot pursuit policy put in place after the fatal police shootings of 13-year-old Adam Toledo and 22-year-old Anthony Alvarez prohibits officers from chasing a suspect because of the "mere act of flight alone."

The officers who approached his group were on a "gang de-escalation mission" following a fatal shooting nearby last week, according to Muhammad.

COPA plans to expedite the release of police body camera footage. The officers involved in the shooting were placed on routine administrative duties for 30 days.

A police spokesperson declined to comment on the pending lawsuit.