CHICAGO (CBS) – The family of a man shot and killed by police in 2015 has been awarded $1.18 million after a jury ruling Tuesday.
A Cook County jury ruled the police shooting of Alfontish Cockerham willful, wanton and unjustified.
A city spokesperson says taxpayers are on the hook for the jury award, along with more than $80 million in other police department related payouts this year.
Cockerham’s aunt says a video of the shooting was the key piece of evidence.
“I’m just so glad we have that tape,” said Cockerham’s aunt, Laquida Cockerham. “It meant everything. It’s our word against theirs, but with the tape, it just put the frosting on the cake.”
Security video caught police chasing Alfontish Cockerham in Chicago’s South Shore neighborhood in 2015. It caught the 23-year-old running, apparently tossing an object, possibly a gun, to the ground. It showed he ended up on the ground with at least one arm in the air.
His family’s attorney says police shot him in the back. He died days later.
“It’s another black kid off the street. Nobody cares,” Cockerham said. “It’s so much killing going on around here, they’re sweeping all this under the rug.”
From the beginning, community activists insisted Cockerham was unarmed and defenseless when police shot him. Initially, police said he’d pointed a gun at officers. His family says there was never proof of that.
“Nobody saw it. And we took it to a jury just in case we were going blind,” said Nenye Uche, the family’s attorney. “The jury has said ‘We don’t care where a person is coming from or what a person has done. We only care about one thing: if you shoot somebody is it justified? Because that’s a human being.'”
“There’s no amount of money that can bring back my nephew,” Cockerham said.
Tonight a spokesperson for the city’s law department says they are disappointed in the verdict and evaluating options.
The officer is still on the force, bumped up to a detective.