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Lawsuit Filed by Family of M-49 Motorist Shot and Killed by Rockford Police Officer During Traffic Stop

For Immediate Release: November 17, 2017

Contact: Craig M. Sandberg, 833.726.3237,

Rockford, IL – On November 5, 2017, just after 1:00 a.m., a Rockford Police Department ("RPD") officer, M-30, shot and killed unarmed M-49 during a traffic stop at or near East State Street and Dawn Avenue in Rockford, Illinois. The body of M-49 was found to have two bullet holes: (1) one in the chest; and (2) one in his upper back/neck area. M-30 died of blunt force trauma caused by a fall and striking the ground—it is unknown why or how M-30 became entangled with or held on to M-49’s vehicle after he shot M-49. At the time of his death, M-49 was a supervisor at Rockford’s BMO Harris Bank Center where he had been a supervisor for the last 14 years. The officer had been on the police force less than a year.

Notably, at the time of the incident, the Rockford Police Department ("RPD") had not provided its officer a body worn camera (“BWC”) and the vehicle he was operating did not include in-car video system (i.e., dashboard camera).

NOTE: Initial criticism followed the filing of this lawsuit by many suggesting that Mr. Sandberg should have waited until the Winnebago-Boone County Integrity Task Force completed its investigation instead of independently investigating M-47's shooting death through the discovery process. However, Mr. Sandberg's experience in police-shooting litigation has taught him that no one should be believed without question, including the police. Certainly, it's never been to the benefit of the disadvantaged or the most marginalized to do so. One of the principles of our judicial system is thorough adversarial development and testing of all the facts relevant to the case. The presumption that truth is revealed through a process of adversarial examination is the basis of the right to effective assistance of counsel. Stated differently, the very premise of our adversary system is that partisan advocacy on both sides of a case will best promote the ultimate objective to find the truth.

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