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Larry Rogers Jr., Jonathan Thomas Secure $10M Settlement for Chicago PD Shooting Victim

On Behalf of | Feb 24, 2020 | Firm News, Jonathan M. Thomas, Larry R. Rogers Jr.

Power Rogers Partner Larry R. Rogers Jr. and Associate Jonathan M. Thomas recently secured a $10M settlement for a client who was shot and paralyzed by a Chicago Police Officer in 2012. The settlement was approved by the Chicago City Council on February 19, 2020.

Prior to settlement, officers involved in the encounter had been honored by the City of Chicago for their heroic efforts.

About the Case

On December 17, 2012, our client, Tarance Etheredge, was walking near 75th Street and Stony Island Avenue on his way to work when an unknown and unmarked vehicle abruptly stopped near him. Two men exited the vehicle and immediately ordered Tarance to “come here.”

Tarance ran from these strangers out of fear for his life.

Unknown to Tarance at the time, the two men who exited the vehicle were on-duty Chicago Police Officers Pedro Guzman and Robert McGee, both of whom claimed Tarance was acting suspiciously and had adjusted his waistband, indicating that he may have been in possession of a weapon. Officer McGee pursued Tarance on foot while Officer Guzman pursued him in the unmarked vehicle. Two more on-duty City of Chicago Police Officers – Mark Heinzel and Joseph Perez – joined pursuit.

Upon realizing the individuals chasing him were Chicago Police Officers, Tarance stopped running in a nearby yard at 1518 E. 77th Street. Officer Heinzel, who had run down the alley, claimed he saw Tarance pointing a gun in the direction of one of the officers also located in the alley at the time of the incident.

In his testimony, Officer Heinzel stated he was frightened and concerned for the safety of himself and his fellow officers. Within 2-4 seconds of arriving at the scene, Officer Heinzel, from roughly 25 feet behind Tarance, fired his weapon four times. One of Officer Heinzel’s bullets struck Tarance in the back, paralyzing him from the waist down.

In court proceedings, Tarance testified that while he was in possession of a firearm at the date and time of the incident, the firearm remained in his jacket pocket during the entirety of the incident. He denied ever holding a gun, and denied ever pointing a gun, at anyone at during the encounter. An examination of Tarance’s firearm conducted by the Illinois state Police Forensic Services Command found no fingerprints. Additionally, the forensic exam showed there was no bullet in the chamber of Trance’s gun.

Seeking Justice & Accountability

In May 2013, the City of Chicago instituted a Resolution for Gratitude to Police Officers McGee, Guzman, Perez, and Heinzel for their efforts related to the incident involving Tarance Etheredge, recognizing them for what was deemed a “heroic life-saving rescue.” The City Council honored the officers for arresting Tarance without injury to “any innocent person.”

After piecing together the series of events surrounding the incident, and calling attention to claims of unnecessary and excessive use of force, Partner Larry R. Rogers, Jr. and Associate Jonathan M. Thomas were ultimately successful in negotiating a resolution.

A $10,000,000.00 settlement was approved by the City Council of the City of Chicago on Wednesday, February 19, 2020 to compensate Tarance Etheredge for the life-altering injuries he sustained as a result of the willful and wanton conduct of the City of Chicago’s Police Department, and specifically the same officers who received awards for their conduct in 2013.

Power Rogers, LLP has a proven record of success in complex and high-profile personal injury and civil claims – including those against the government and public entities. Learn more about our firm and our record of success, or contact us to speak with an attorney.

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