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Lawsuits filed by Dexter Reed paint picture of a troubled man trying to recover from being shot

Sam Charles, Chicago Tribune on

Published in News & Features

CHICAGO — During the last year of his life, Dexter Reed was reaching out for help but still found himself in trouble.

While many questions remain about what happened in the March 21 shootout that left Reed shot dead by Chicago police and an officer shot in the wrist, court records examined by the Chicago Tribune show Reed repeatedly sought legal remedies for his financial, medical and psychological struggles after he was wounded in another shooting in August 2021.

“I’m physically disabled and mentally unstable with PTSD, short-term memory loss, slurred speech, drop foot in one of my legs, blindness in one eye, shoulder/arm hard to move, weakness and/or sensitivity,” Reed, who was 26 when he was killed last month, wrote in an August 2023 court filing. “With all these medical conditions it has been hard for me to work and/or do certain things.”

The video of Reed’s killing by a team of tactical officers drew immediate responses from city leaders last week and provided a vivid reminder that policing in the city remains under a federal consent decree outlining reform.

And while the reasons behind Reed’s actions may never be known, the record in his legal claims provide at least a partial window into his self-proclaimed mental state in recent years. While not commenting directly about Reed’s recent past, his family last week made statements urging the public and officials to consider the full picture of Reed beyond the disturbing footage that quickly went viral.

Andrew M. Stroth, an attorney representing Reed’s family, confirmed to the Chicago Tribune that Reed was previously shot. Stroth declined to specify what happened, but said the shooting left Reed with trauma that he was still grappling with at the time of his death.


“Dexter sustained a serious injury from a family altercation in August of 2021. He was a competitive basketball player, an athlete, his entire life, and after that incident he spent several months recuperating and rehabilitating from that major injury,” Stroth said.

“That injury was traumatic, it was really traumatic for him,” he said. “There were no criminal charges, nothing legal, he just got in an altercation, he was shot, and he never fully recovered. And over the past couple years, the family shared with me, he’s been working to recover, both physically and mentally.”

Cook County court records show that Reed filed lawsuits between March and August last year, acting as his own attorney in each. Three of those lawsuits — filed against the city’s Finance Department, a former college basketball teammate and Reed’s former employer, Monterrey Security — were filed in March 2023.

Reed alleged the city improperly ticketed and towed his vehicle when he was in a coma recovering from his gunshot injuries. He sued Monterrey, claiming that he was fired without cause in 2019. And Reed said one of his former basketball teammates at Morton College had set up a GoFundMe account in Reed’s name after he was shot without his permission, but that former teammate never gave him any of the donated money.


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