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$8.5 mil to mom of teen shot in back by officer

Published: Friday, Aug. 16, 2013 1:53 p.m. CDT

CHICAGO (AP) — A Cook County jury has awarded $8.5 million in damages to the mother of an 18-year-old shot in the back and killed by a Chicago police officer.

Aaron Harrison's death in 2007 helped focus public scrutiny on allegations of police misconduct.

Jurors' decision late Thursday suggests they accepted Harrison was unarmed and that someone planted a gun next to him after he fell.

The law firm representing the family, Cochran & Montgomery, said Friday the decision "vindicates" those who long asserted Harrison was a victim.

Officer John Fitzgerald contended he fired when Harrison pulled a gun as he sought to elude police. The Independent Police Review Authority in 2009 found the shooting justified.

The city's law office planned to issue a statement on the case later Friday.

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