Lawyers for the village of Forest Park and the family of Marco Gomez have apparently reached a settlement agreement to put an end to a legal dispute stemming from the fatal shooting of Gomez by a village police officer in February 2017, according to online court records.
The agreement is subject to the approval of the Forest Park Village Council, which did not address the settlement at its regular Nov. 22 council meeting. Mayor Rory Hoskins declined to address the suit the following morning, citing the ongoing litigation, and attorney Carlton Odim, who represents Gomez’s family, could not be reached for comment.
According to federal court records, though, the two parties reached a settlement earlier this month, at which time Magistrate Judge Sheila Finnegan ordered that the attorneys provide an update on the status of the final agreement no later than Nov. 24.
Because any settlement would need to be approved at a public hearing, it appears no agreement will be finalized by that date, which is after the Review went to print.
Gomez’s estate sued the village and the man who fired the fatal shot, Forest Park Police Officer Daniel Miller, in 2018. Miller filed a countersuit later that year.
The family alleges that Gomez was driving a stolen silver Volkswagen Jetta near Jackson Boulevard and Harlem Avenue on Feb. 3, 2017 when Ofc. Miller approached the car on foot. At that point, the family claims, Gomez was trying to drive away from Miller when the officer opened fire from the driver’s side and shot Gomez once in the chest.
An amended complaint argues that Gomez “was unarmed and presented no immediate threat” to Miller at the time of the shooting, and further alleges that the shooting was “part and parcel of a widespread municipal policy, practice and custom” in the Forest Park Police Department.
“Among other things, the policies, practices and customs alleged in this complaint encouraged the extrajudicial shooting of civilians,” the suit reads.
The village denied the allegations, claiming that Gomez’s shooting was lawful and disputing the defense’s description of events.
In Miller’s countersuit, his attorneys claim that Gomez was on parole at the time of the shooting and that he had fled from Chicago police earlier that day before being confronted by Miller, who heard scanner traffic that put the stolen Jetta in Forest Park.
Gomez then, according to the counterclaim, ignored the officer’s orders and drove the Volkswagen directly at Miller before the shooting.
According to court records, the two parties “reached a settlement agreement” during a conference on Nov. 4, and lawyers were instructed to “promptly draft the settlement documents for execution.”