Medics and FD Sued Over Photos of Shooting Victim

The sister of a man who was shot and killed during Black Lives Matter protests in Cicero, Illinois last summer, has filed suit against two Cicero Fire Department paramedics and a retired lieutenant for taking and sharing photos of his body. Adriana Cazares filed suit today in US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois naming Frank R. Rand, Justin Zheng, Gene Lazcano and the Town of Cicero as defendants.

Cazares bother, Victor Cazares, was shot and killed while trying to protect a local grocery store from rioters on June 1, 2020. The suit alleges that one of the medics, Kheng or Lazcano, photographed Victor’s body, or allowed others to do so. The image was then forwarded to Rand, who posted it to Facebook with the comment: “Come to Cicero to loot and break shit! Get a free body bag!! Nice head shot!!”

Quoting from the complaint:

  • Mr. Cazares was not a criminal, but a good samaritan.
  • When looting broke out in Cicero, he gathered with several neighbors to be present in front of the local grocery as a witness to discourage any criminal conduct.
  • As he stood by with his neighbors, unarmed, an unknown person fired shots, hitting Mr. Cazares in the head.
  • He was 27 years old at the time of his death.
  • Defendants Zheng and Lazcano were called to the scene to provide medical care.
  • Instead of addressing the medical emergency with the most immediate care and treatment, they took a photograph of Mr. Cazares and his injuries, or allowed others to do so, without his consent.
  • After receiving the photo, Defendant Rand posted it to a Facebook group for Cicero residents with over 8,000 members, writing the false and offensive comments and stating, in effect, that Mr. Cazares got what he deserved.
  • Mr. Cazares and his family deserve justice. Plaintiff brings this action to hold the Defendants accountable for their loathsome misconduct and the harm done to a dying man and his loved ones.

The suit alleges the defendants conduct was “so egregious as to shock the conscious” [sic], triggering a violation of the 14th Amendment. It also alleges conspiracy, invasion of privacy, defamation, breach of contract, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Here is a copy of the complaint:

More on the story.

Note: the expression is shock the conscience, not shock the conscious.

BTW – the next delivery of Drafting & Implementing an Effective Digital Imagery Policy is scheduled for March 31, 2021, 1 PM. Details.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.
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