WEST GARFIELD PARK — The family of a West Side man is demanding answers after police fatally shot the young father after a foot chase Saturday.
Police shot Reginald Clay Jr., 24, about 10 a.m. Saturday at the 3800 block of West Flournoy Street, officials said. Clay, an Amazon worker with a 3-year-old daughter, was meeting his friends on West Flournoy Street and South Independence Boulevard to go to a friend’s funeral, according to ABC7.
Officers were patrolling the area after a reputed gang member was killed in the neighborhood last week, Deputy Chief Rahman Muhammad said during a news conference Saturday.
They spotted several people in the area, one of whom was leaning into a car, Muhammad said.
Officers got out of their car and went up to the man, whom family identified as Clay, who ran away through a gangway, police said. Clay “turned toward an officer with a firearm,” and the officer shot him, police said. Clay was pronounced dead at Mount Sinai Hospital, officials said.
“This is a tragic incident that occurred,” Muhammad said.
Muhammad would not say why police approached Clay despite reporters asking multiple times.
In a statement Monday, Civilian Office of Police Accountability officials said officers chased Clay as he ran through one gangway, into a backyard and into a second gangway with a dead end, officials said. Clay turned run out of the gangway, toward the officers, at which point one of the officers shot him, officials said.
Civilian Office of Police Accountability officials did not say whether Clay raised or pointed a weapon at the officers. He had a gun, which was found at the scene, officials said.
Leaders of the police watchdog agency said they will work to expedite the release of video, audio and police reports related to the shooting.
The officers involved were place on routine administrative duties for the next 30 days.
Clay’s family has disputed the police account about what happened and said Clay was an innocent bystander. His father, Reginald Clay Sr., told reporters his son was shot four times in his back. His family also said Clay had a gun permit.
“How are you posing a threat running with your back turned? That ain’t no threat,” Clay’s father told ABC7. “If somebody turns around and brandished a gun, you’re going to get hit in your torso, stomach and all that. My son got hit in his back four times, man. Four times.”
The Cook County Medical Examiner’s Officer determined Clay died of multiple gunshot wounds in a homicide. Police oversight agency officials said Clay “was not shot in the back as suggested by early reports.”
“As a part of the investigation, COPA will review the initial interaction, foot pursuit, body worn activation and subsequent use of deadly force as well as all other matters to determine if the officers’ actions were in accordance with Department policy and training,” said Ephraim Eaddy, first deputy chief administrator.
Natasha Mac-Dickson, Clay’s cousin, said he was known to his loved ones as Lil Red.
“Lil Red was loved by everybody,” she wrote in a Facebook message. “He has a 3yr old daughter [named] Kaylani which was his world. He worked for Amazon. Very respectful and he loved his family and friends to death. I hate this happened to him.”
Anyone with information or video footage related to the shooting can contact the Civilian Office of Police Accountability at 312-746-3609 or by visiting ChicagoCOPA.org.