Family files lawsuit against deputy in Marie's Pizza shooting - – Rockford’s News Leader

Family files lawsuit against deputy in Marie's Pizza shooting

Posted: Updated:
Brandon Sago Brandon Sago
Desmond Bellmon Desmond Bellmon
Lamar Coates Lamar Coates

The family of a 16-year-old armed robbery suspect shot and killed by an off-duty Winnebago County Sheriff's deputy files a civil lawsuit against the deputy and the department.

The family of Michael Sago, Jr. filed the suit against Deputy Frank Pobjecky in federal court Friday. The suit claims Pobjecky violated Sago's civil rights when he used excessive force and failed to provide medical care to Sago in a timely manner. Winnebago County Sheriff Richard Meyers and Winnebago County are also named in the lawsuit.

Michael Sago and three men tried to rob the Marie's Pizza at 1513 Charles Street in October 2011. Michael Sago was shot and killed after a struggle began over a weapon with Pobjecky, who was off-duty in the restaurant talking with the owner at the time of the attempted robbery.

A grand jury ruled Deputy Pobjecky was justified in using deadly force during the robbery attempt.

The complaint, filed by Chicago civil rights attorney Basileios "Bill" Foutris on behalf of Michael Sago's family, charges Pobjecky and Winnebago County Sheriff Richard Meyers with wrongful death and misconduct.

"Were it not for the gross misconduct of Frank Pobjecky, Michael Sago, Jr. would be alive today," said Foutris. "Michael was an unarmed minor who was running from the scene. He was a 16-year-old who was shot in the back not once, but three times even though he did not present a threat to Pobjecky," explained Foutris.

The six-count lawsuit seeks compensatory and punitive damages from Pobjecky, as well as compensatory damages from the other defendants.

Meanwhile, the three suspects facing charges in the shooting continue the legal process. Brandon Sago, Desmond Bellmon, and Lamar Coates, all from Rockford, have pleaded not guilty to charges in a 21-count indictment handed down by a grand jury. Charges include: eight counts of first degree murder, two counts of attempted first degree murder, four counts of armed robbery, and four counts of attempted armed robbery, three counts of conspiracy to commit armed robbery (one count for each defendant), six counts of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon (two counts for each defendant), three counts of unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon (one count for each defendant), and three counts of mob action (one count for each defendant).

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