Civil rights charges have been filed against a Chicago Police Officer accused of using excessive force when he shot into a car and wounded two individuals, in an incident that happened three years ago. The Plaintiff is claiming that the victims’ civil rights were violated. The officer has recently pleaded not guilty to those charges that were previously filed in federal court. The entire episode was caught on dash-cam video.
This is the first time, in about fifteen years, that an officer is facing criminal charges in a federal court based on actions from an on-duty incident. This incident, which occurred in December of 2013, is not the first of its kind for this officer though. This is the third shooting the officer has been involved within the 10 years that he has worked for the Chicago Police Department.
The first shooting the officer was involved in occurred in August 2010 when a young woman was wounded. The second occurred in July 2011 when a man was shot to death at close range. In that case, the shooting was found to be unjustified by a jury in Cook County. The dead man’s mother was awarded $3.5 million in damages, but the verdict was overturned by a judge. That case is still being appealed.
At the arraignment for the current federal charges, the cop was ordered to surrender his weapon in order to be released on his own recognizance. But the lawyer argued for the judge to allow him to keep his FOID (Firearm Owner ID) card so he could maintain his status with the police department where he has been placed on desk duty, but is still earning a paycheck.
The December 2013 shooting, which is the subject of these federal proceedings, is based on video footage showing the defendant shooting at a car while it backed away from him. The officer claims he shot into the car because he feared the people in that car were in danger. He surmised that they were likely in danger because the driver had bailed out of the stolen car and another passenger pressed the gas with their hand in an effort to get away from the police. The attorney for the officer claimed the shooting was justified based upon training and procedure. A year after the event there was a policy change within the police department that prohibited shooting at moving vehicles.
The video footage shows the officer walking towards the car with his gun drawn, then as the officer backs away, the car goes in reverse, away from the officer. Then the officer starts shooting, and shoots all the rounds that were in his gun. Two of the people in the car were injured. The lawsuit against the city stemming from this incident settled for $360,000.
This case has been reviewed by the Independent Police Review Authority that reviews all shootings that involve police, and they have recommended the officer be fired and ruled that this shooting was unjustified.
If you are the victim of police violence or if you have been accused of a crime and need an attorney with a successful track record to fight for your rights, the Chicago police brutality lawyers associated with Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC can help you. Our attorneys have the experience and knowledge needed to win. Call us at (312) 644-0444 to see how we can be of assistance.