GARY - Angry family members gathered on the steps of City Hall in Gary Tuesday. They want to know why Gary police shot and killed a man with a concealed carry permit.
"My son Rashad Cunningham was shot down in cold blood sitting in front of his home,” said Tonya Simmons.
It has been nearly two months since a Gary police officer shot and killed 25-year-old Rashad Cunningham, and now his family is filing a federal civil rights lawsuit against the city of Gary and Officer Isaiah Price, alleging Price used excessive force.
"This is an officer who has a history. This is an officer who should know how to proceed as a police officer,” said attorney Gary Kulis.
Cunningham, who had a valid concealed carry permit and no criminal history, was sitting in a car with some friends in the early morning hours of August 17. Gary police say officers responding to a call of shots fired saw a gun inside the car, but will not say what happened next.
"He had his hands up with his license and his wallet. Under those circumstances, there's absolutely no justification,” said attorney Andrew M. Stroth.
"It's very simple. Do African Americans have the same Second Amendment rights as every other American in this nation?" asked Cunningham’s uncle, Ivan Simmons.
Unfortunately, there is no video record of what occurred back in August. That is because Gary cannot afford to put cameras in its police cars or on its officers.
The Lake County Sheriff's Office is conducting an investigation into whether excessive force was justified.
In a statement, a spokesperson says, "...the Department has submitted findings of its investigation to the Lake County Prosecutor's Office. No further information will be released at this time."
"He has five kids. A mother that loved him dearly. A father that loved him dearly. All Rashad wanted to do was take care of his family and get out of Gary, Indiana,” said Cunningham’s girlfriend, Heather Fox.