2 Chicago cops shot unarmed man, gave false statements to investigators, prosecutors say

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Prosecutors say two veteran Chicago law enforcement officials shot an unarmed man this summer season after which made false statements to investigators dealing with the case. Sgt. Christopher Liakopolous, 43, and Off. Ruben Reynoso, 42, had been relieved of their police powers after they surrendered to authorities this week, in line with a CPD assertion.

Christopher Liakopolous (left) and Ruben Reynoso | CPD

At round 7 a.m. on July 22, Liakopolous and Reynoso had been on-duty and heading to the police academy in an unmarked automotive to conduct coaching. They each work in CPD’s Main Accident Investigations Unit, which handles severe visitors crashes, and neither was carrying physique cameras.

On the intersection of 18th and Morgan, the officers noticed three males close to some closed companies. Liakopolous stopped the automotive, backed as much as the boys, and requested what they had been doing, prosecutor Alyssa Janicki mentioned. 

Whereas speaking with the group, a juvenile and a person walked towards them. The person had a wine bottle and a cellphone in a single hand and nothing in his different hand, Janicki mentioned. However the juvenile wore a cross-body bag and gripped a gun contained in the bag.

Earlier than reaching the officers’ automotive, the juvenile turned and ran away as the opposite man waved on the officers together with his free hand, Janicki continued.

Reynoso pulled his gun, prolonged his arm out the passenger window, and shot the person who was not armed, in line with Janicki. Liakopolous raised his personal firearm out the passenger window and in addition fired a number of pictures, she mentioned.

The person, struck twice within the again and as soon as within the leg, fell to the bottom. He survived. A pedestrian additionally suffered a graze wound to their leg.

In the meantime, the juvenile, who was working throughout the road, turned and fired a number of rounds towards the officers, she mentioned. Each cops shot on the juvenile. The officers and the juvenile escaped damage. 

Throughout the investigation, each officers instructed detectives and prosecutors that they solely fired their weapons after they had been fired upon, Janicki mentioned. 

A number of days after the capturing, prosecutors discovered that video footage “straight contradicts” the officers’ model of occasions, she alleged. The officers’ protection attorneys instructed Choose Maryam Ahmad that the Chicago Workplace of Police Accountability (COPA) plans to launch the footage from one of many cameras early subsequent week.

In response to Janicki, the video reveals the person with a bottle and cellphone in a single hand standing close to the officers’ passenger window with each arms seen when he was shot. The juvenile was heading away from the automotive, she mentioned.

Prosecutors initially charged the juvenile with tried homicide of a police officer, however they dropped the case at some point after they filed it, in line with protection attorneys.

Reynoso’s personal lawyer, Brian Sexton, supplied an intensive rebuttal to Janicki’s presentation.

The cops “noticed gang members” that they believed had been tagging a enterprise’ door, so that they stopped to research, “mainly telling them to knock it off,” Sexton mentioned.

He mentioned your complete encounter, from partaking with the group to the capturing, “all occurred inside two seconds.”

Sexton alleged that the digicam that captured the capturing was positioned behind the juvenile, and he argued that it was not doable to know if the juvenile fired first.

“It doesn’t matter who fired first if he’s pointing the gun at him,” Sexton instructed Choose Maryam Ahmad.

However Janicki instructed Ahmad there was “no indication” that the juvenile fired pictures on the officers.

Reynoso spoke with investigators the day after the capturing with out having the advantage of seeing the video, Sexton mentioned, including that even the FBI doesn’t let brokers who’re concerned in shootings discuss their recollections for 72 hours as a result of stressors concerned.

“This entire factor about contradicting or mendacity, that’s utterly false,” Sexton argued.

“We had been assured COPA wasn’t even going to maintain the allegations,” he continued. The truth is, COPA didn’t even speak with Reynoso till this week, he mentioned.

Liakopolous’ lawyer, Tim Grace, echoed Reynoso’s arguments.

“We don’t use 2020 hindsight” when judging the actions of police, Grace mentioned. “We don’t second guess. We don’t decelerate movies” because the CCSAO did on this case, he continued.

Each officers are married, have youngsters, and have been on the drive for the reason that early 2000s.

They’re charged with aggravated battery by discharging a firearm, aggravated discharge of a firearm, and official misconduct.

Ahmad ordered every of them to pay $2,500 towards their bail to get out of jail.

Each protection attorneys urged Ahmad to dam the discharge of the capturing video to the general public. Related motions are generally granted in legal instances involving folks accused of capturing at police and instances involving police who’re accused of wrongly capturing others.

Janicki didn’t take a place on the matter, though prosecutors have strenuously argued to have movies sealed through the pendency of different instances.

However Ahmad declined to entertain the movement through the bail session. She ordered the matter to be heard in a special courtroom on Monday.

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