The family members of Michael Elam Jr., who was shot and killed by a police officer earlier this year, have filed a lawsuit against the city of Chicago.
The lawsuit stems from an incident on Feb. 16 in the 2100 block of South Keeler. Police officers tried to pull over a vehicle that Elam was in for speeding and headlight violations. Police said the driver refused to stop and crashed into a fence nearby.
After the crash, Elam and the other people in the car fled the scene. Police officer Adolf Bolanos then opened fire on Elam, striking him in the head and back.
According to police, two guns were recovered from the scene. However, Elam’s family argues that the teen was unarmed at the time of the shooting.
“The acts of Defendant Bolanos were a deliberate and malicious deprivation of the Plaintiff’s Constitutional rights against excessive force,” the lawsuit alleges. “As a result of the unreasonable and unjustifiable excessive force used by the Defendant Bolanos, Michael Elam suffered fatal injuries.”
The suit additionally alleges that Bolanos didn’t activate his body camera, which is a requirement by the Chicago Police Department. Jeffrey Neslund, an attorney for the family, said that there is body camera footage from Bolanos’ partner and other officers were at the scene, but the videos don’t display the shooting.
The lawsuit alleges wrongful death and excessive force.
“I still cannot believe that he is truly gone. … Our whole family is heartbroken,” Elam’s mother, Alice Martin, said through tears during a press conference Thursday at her attorney’s office.
“We’re just looking for answers,” she added. “We want justice for my son.”