Cook County Jury Finds Chicago Police Shooting Unjustified, Awards $1.5 Million to Family
Last night, a Cook County jury found the March 10, 2009 shooting death of Matthias Mayhorn by Chicago police officers unjustified and rendered a verdict of $1.5 Million for his family and against the City of Chicago.
Larry Rogers, Jr., Carolyn Daley Scott, and Sean Houlihan of Power Rogers & Smith, L.L.P., represented the Mayhorn Family during the trial before Judge James Varga in Cook County, Illinois. The City of Chicago was represented by Barret Boudreaux, Scott Jebson, Matthew Hurd and James Ormond.
On March 10, 2009, Matthias Mayhorn was at his home when 2 plain clothes officers arrived to arrest him pursuant to an investigative alert for a domestic incident. Mr. Mayhorn fled into his bedroom and attempted to exit a 2nd floor bedroom window when he was grabbed by his legs by the officers. The officers alleged that Mr. Mayhorn pulled a gun on them while he was attempting to evade arrest through the 2nd floor window and while being held by his feet by the officers. The defense further alleged that the police officers shot Mr. Mayhorn twice when he refused to drop the weapon and were justified in the use of deadly force in doing so. Plaintiff established that Mr. Mayhorn was not shot at the window as the defense contended in a struggle with the police officers, but more likely than not was shot in the gangway below where he did not pose a threat of imminent death or serious bodily harm to the police officers or others. Mr. Rogers introduced forensic evidence found at the scene, and testimony from a forensic pathologist regarding the downward and forward trajectory of the bullet wounds to the back of the head and the leg, to establish that Matthias was shot from a distance, and not at close range as the officers suggested. Mr. Rogers also alleged that the lack of fingerprints or other evidence tying the weapon found at the scene to Matthias Mayhorn fit the profile for that weapon being a "drop gun" that was dropped at the scene to explain the unjustified shooting. "This young man was shot at his home and had a bullet wound in the back of his head with a downward and forward trajectory, and no evidence supporting close range firing. The forensic evidence in this case established that Matthias Mayhorn was shot from above, from his 2nd story bedroom window after he had made it down to the gangway." said Larry R. Rogers, Jr., a partner at Power Rogers & Smith, L.L.P. "The statements by the officers were unbelievable and unsupported by the evidence and the jury saw through their testimony and based their verdict on the forensics." The jury awarded $1.5 million dollars for the loss that Mr. Mayhorn's three minor children suffered due to his death.