Family Suing Calumet City Cops Who Fatally Shot Autistic Son
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CALUMET CITY, Ill. (STMW) - The parents of a 15-year-old boy with Asperger’s Syndrome filed a lawsuit Friday against south suburban Calumet City and two police officers allegedly involved in the fatal shooting of their son.
Stephon E. Watts was shot and killed Feb. 1 after the boy’s father called police for help, according to a release issued by the Calumet City Police Department at the time.
When officers arrived and went down to the basement, Watts suddenly appeared and made slashing strikes at the officers with a knife, the release said, adding that one officer suffered a defensive wound—a cut to the left forearm. That’s when two other officers fired one shot each, both hitting Watts, the release said.
The family sued in March to learn the names of the officers involved. Wednesday’s lawsuit, filed in Cook County Circuit Court, names both officers although neither could be reached for comment.
Police had said the February shooting was the 12th time they responded to a domestic disturbance at the home, 10 of them involving the teen.
Prior to the fatal shooting, police last responded to the home on Dec. 10, 2011, when Watts punched his mother in the face with a closed fist, a police release said, adding that Watts was found outside of the home holding a knife.
When officers ordered him to drop the knife, he refused and began to run down the street, police said. After a short distance, Watt stopped suddenly and turned on the officers, trying to cut the officers with a knife, the release said.
One officer Tasered him with negative results, but another officer deployed his Taser, striking Watts and causing him to drop the knife, the release said.
Police say in many of the incidents, Watts was noted to be very aggressive, violent and willing to fight with weapons. They also said most incidents happened when Watts was off his medication, the release said.
Calumet City police officers had received training in dealing with autistic juveniles and adults prior to the latest incident, the release said.
The six-count suit claims wrongful death and survival action against Calumet City and against each of the officers involved. It seeks an unspecified amount in damages, plus court costs.
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