A man who says he was shot several times last summer by Joliet police officers has filed a civil rights lawsuit against the officers and the City of Joliet.
The complaint, which will be pursued in federal court alleges excessive force and is seeking millions of dollars in damages.
James Pacheco shows the scars left behind by bullets that struck him in several places on his arm, shoulder and upper lip.
These are gunshot wounds he says he sustained when a Joliet police officer fired multiple shots at Pacheco during an incident last summer.
“I had no idea why their guns were drawn or why they were pulling me over,” Pacheco said.
Early in the morning of July 30, 2012, Pacheco was driving in the 900-block of East Washington Street when he was stopped by a train.
He made a u-turn and was stopped by Joliet officers investigating a report that implicated Pacheco in property damage nearby.
Pacheco says officers demanded he get out of the car, and before he could respond, opened fire.
The incident was caught on surveillance video.
Officers could be heard demanding that Pacheco get out of his car. Pacheco in turn asking why, saying he didn’t do anything.
Then, gunshots are heard.
Pacheco, saying he was fearing for his life, sped away and then crashed after a few miles.
“I don’t believe no matter what I did that night, I’m being accused of something that was minor, busting a window, I don’t think anybody deserves to be shot,” Pacheco said.
“You literally drive away to try to save your life. Pull over because you can’t go any further and what does the policeman do? Pull out a taser and tases you twice,” said Jeff Tomczak, Pacheco’s attorney.
Pacheco and his attorney, Jeff Tomczak, have filed a civil rights lawsuit against the City of Joliet and the officers involved in the incident. The complaint makes several allegations, including excessive force and battery.
“When they pull the trigger of that gun, there has to be no room for error. No room for overreaction. No chance that that’s an unjustified shooting,” said Tomczak.
Pacheco still faces charges following that incident, including dui, and attempted aggravated battery.
An attorney for the City of Joliet says the officer involved in the shooting was under internal investigation, and it was found that the use of force was justified. However, he could not comment on the pending litigation.