WBEZ | police shootings http://www.wbez.org/tags/police-shootings Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Chicago agency chief denies pressuring investigators to change findings on police shootings http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-agency-chief-denies-pressuring-investigators-change-findings-police-shootings-112467 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Ando3crop.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><em>Updated Friday, July 24, to include comments from the mayor&rsquo;s office and allegations from a second former Chicago investigator.</em></p><p>The chief administrator of the Chicago agency that looks into shootings by police denies that it has asked investigators to change their findings.</p><p>An Independent Police Review Authority official on Thursday hand-delivered a written statement challenging allegations brought by a supervising investigator the agency fired this month.</p><p>As <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/city-fires-investigator-who-found-cops-fault-shootings-112423">WBEZ first reported</a>, Lorenzo Davis was terminated July 9 after a performance evaluation accused him of anti-police bias and called him &ldquo;the only supervisor at IPRA who resists making requested changes as directed by management in order to reflect the correct finding with respect to OIS,&rdquo; as officer-involved shootings are known in the agency.</p><p>Davis says the disputed cases included six shootings by officers that he had found were unjustified.</p><p>In the statement, IPRA Chief Administrator Scott M. Ando says the agency&rsquo;s management has the final word on whether findings are accurate and whether they meet the burden of proof. The statement added, however, that &ldquo;no one at IPRA has ever been asked to change their findings.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;In a very small number of cases, when during the course of a supervisory review it is found that evidence has been excluded,&rdquo; the statement said, &ldquo;a supervisor will request that the investigator review and include all available evidence in their findings.&rdquo;</p><p>That, the statement says, is what happened with Davis. &ldquo;A few cases he worked on were found to be incomplete by all three levels of management above him,&rdquo; the statement says. The findings &ldquo;did not include all available evidence and in some cases were built on assumptions.&rdquo;</p><p>Ando, promoted last year by Mayor Rahm Emanuel to head the agency, so far has not agreed to speak with WBEZ about Davis&rsquo;s termination, the shootings or the agency&rsquo;s process for arriving at its findings.</p><p>A written statement late Thursday from an Emanuel spokesman calls the termination an &ldquo;internal matter.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;The city does not tolerate biased investigations,&rdquo; the statement said. &ldquo;We have confidence in IPRA and the important role they play as an independent, civilian-led review agency.&rdquo;</p><p>A second former top IPRA investigator, meanwhile, made allegations about the agency late Thursday. Anthony Finnell says he left IPRA last year because officers with multiple excessive-force complaints remained on duty.</p><p>&ldquo;We could not get the state&rsquo;s attorney to file charges, we could not get the police department to discipline them, we could not even get our agency to support, at times, the findings against certain officers,&rdquo; Finnell <a href="https://twitter.com/allinwithchris/status/624392400450949120">said on MSNBC</a>.</p><p>&ldquo;For me, as a police officer, that was extremely frustrating,&rdquo; said Finnell, who worked for 23 years as an Indianapolis cop, finishing there as a sergeant.</p><p>At IPRA, he worked for 15 months as a supervising investigator. He moved last year to head an agency that investigates police wrongdoing in Oakland, California.</p></p> Thu, 23 Jul 2015 16:23:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-agency-chief-denies-pressuring-investigators-change-findings-police-shootings-112467 'A gun that could never have been fired' http://www.wbez.org/news/gun-could-never-have-been-fired-112226 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/photo 4-1.PNG" alt="" /><p><p>Calvin Cross was two blocks from his home on a spring night in 2011. He had just returned from Job Corps, where he earned a certificate for brick laying; and had recently learned that his longtime girlfriend was pregnant. After finishing dinner at home, where he lived with his mom and two older sisters, Cross went out with a friend Ryan Cornell. Both men were 19 years old&mdash;and black&mdash;walking in the West Pullman neighborhood.</p><p>Just about a month later, Cross&rsquo; girlfriend Tunoka Jett would give birth to a baby boy: A son Cross would never meet.</p><p>Near the corner of 124th and Wallace streets, a Chicago police car with three on-duty officers inside pulled up next to the teens. The police officers would later say they were responding to reports of gunshots in the area&mdash;and that Cross was holding his waistband, as if he had a gun.</p><p>The chronology of events after the car pulled up is in dispute&mdash;and will never be settled&mdash;but new light has been shed on the case by a <a href="http://t.co/hybHJukcUj" target="_blank">recently released report</a> from the city agency charged with investigating police misconduct.</p><p>What is known is that, at some point, the officers got out of the car, Cross started running&mdash;and the three cops chased him, firing 45 shots and hitting Cross five times.</p><p>According to the Cook County Medical Examiner&rsquo;s report, a bullet to Cross&rsquo; face was the shot that ultimately killed him.</p><p>&ldquo;My client runs, Ryan Cornell stays put. The three officers chase my client, Ryan Cornell goes back to my client&rsquo;s home and tells his mom they&rsquo;re shooting at Calvin,&rdquo; Cross family attorney Tony Thedford said of that night.</p><p>And Cross&rsquo; mom, Dana, said she heard the gunshots from her home.</p><p>Thedford said Calvin Cross&rsquo; fatal decision to run from the police, rather than stay put like Cornell, was the result of Cross&rsquo; relative inexperience dealing with police.</p><p>The 19-year-old had never been arrested; his mom described her youngest child as a &ldquo;homebody.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;He was an easygoing person, well liked&hellip;he was in the men&rsquo;s choir at our church,&rdquo; Dana Cross said. &ldquo;He didn&rsquo;t hang out&hellip;he liked to stay at home [and] play games.&rdquo;</p><p>The Chicago Police Department referred questions about the shooting to the city&rsquo;s law department; and an attorney for the three cops involved declined a request to interview the officers. So this account is based on federal court filings, testimony by a city attorney, a report from the Independent Police Review Authority, Cross&rsquo; mother and her family&rsquo;s attorneys.</p><p>The officers involved said while Cross was running, he opened fire, forcing them to shoot back.</p><p>The Independent Police Review Authority&mdash;the agency charged with investigating officer-involved shootings&mdash;ruled the shooting justified; but the final report, released Friday, notes that the weapon recovered was never fired, directly contradicting the officers&rsquo; version of events.</p><p>&ldquo;The detectives&rsquo; Supplementary Report indicates that, although the involved officers all reported that Subject 1 fired at them, the recovered revolver was fully-loaded,&rdquo; the IPRA report reads, and goes on to say, that &ldquo;a gunshot residue examination on [Cross] was negative.&rdquo;</p><p>And the Illinois State Police Crime Lab ruled that the gun recovered at the scene was &ldquo;inoperable.&rdquo;</p><p>Also, family attorney Torreya Hamilton said there were no fingerprints on the gun.<br /><br />&ldquo;Why, when the police department learned that these police officers were fired at with a gun that was impossible to be fired, why weren&rsquo;t they looked at for criminal charges?&rdquo; Hamilton asked. &ldquo;Unless you have a video, apparently&hellip;you&rsquo;re not going to be looked at for criminal charges if you&rsquo;re a police officer. And these police officers are still out on the street. They&rsquo;re still telling the story about being shot at with a gun that could never have been fired at them.&rdquo;</p><p>And Thedford says the unusable weapon found by police was hundreds of feet away from the crime scene, and out of Cross&rsquo; path.</p><p>&ldquo;Where he was found dead was at a fence. Our belief is that he was trying to get past that fence so he could keep running,&rdquo; Thedford said. &ldquo;We believe, and will always believe, that our client ran because he was afraid. He saw this weapon and he ran.&rdquo;</p><p>On May 31, 2012, exactly one year after Cross&rsquo; death, his family filed a federal lawsuit against the city and the officers involved. And on Wednesday, the Chicago City Council approved a $2 million payout to settle the case.</p><p>Thedford said Cross&rsquo; son, now 3 years old, was the impetus for settling a case they had long expected would go to trial.</p><p>And after taking out attorneys fees, all of the remaining settlement will go to the child - named Calvin, after his father - in monthly payments to a trust until he turns 30.</p><p>&ldquo;At least I know he&rsquo;ll be taken care of,&rdquo; his grandmother said. &ldquo;But if I could give all that money back so he can have his daddy back, that&rsquo;s what I&rsquo;d do.&rdquo;</p><p>Cross said she is too angry to talk about the fact that the shooting was ruled justified and the officers remain on the force. She&rsquo;s also haunted by the lack of attention paid to her son&rsquo;s death.</p><p>&ldquo;No police officer ever came to talk to me. No news people ever came to talk to me. Nobody. It&rsquo;s like my son was shot and killed and it&rsquo;s just that&rsquo;s it, that&rsquo;s all,&rdquo; Cross said.</p><p>Thedford thinks that silence is because of who Calvin was: A 19-year-old black man on the South Side of Chicago.</p><p>&ldquo;Is there an expectation that he&rsquo;s a part of some faceless, nameless horde that they always get shot, they&rsquo;re always up to something, there&rsquo;s always some assumption that he must have been up to no good? I think the reason that it was immediately believed that whatever version the police officers gave was correct is because he fit the mold,&rdquo; Thedford said.</p><p>On the same day the city approved the Cross settlement, the city council also agreed to pay $1 million to settle a lawsuit over the 2010 death of Joshua Madison. Taking these most recent settlements into account, the city has paid out a total of $8 million so far this year for Chicago police shootings.</p><p><em>Patrick Smith is a WBEZ Producer/Reporter. Follow him <a href="https://twitter.com/pksmid">@pksmid</a>.</em></p></p> Fri, 19 Jun 2015 17:14:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/gun-could-never-have-been-fired-112226 Prosecutor: No charges for white cop who killed black teen in Zion http://www.wbez.org/news/prosecutor-no-charges-white-cop-who-killed-black-teen-zion-112028 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/CE-u53ZUsAAe88l.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A prosecutor said Thursday that he won&#39;t charge a white northeastern Illinois police officer in the fatal shooting of a black 17-year-old, saying the fleeing teen was holding a loaded handgun and that the officer feared for his life and a fellow officer&#39;s.</p><p>Lake County State&#39;s Attorney Michael Nerheim told reporters an investigation that included the FBI found Zion police Officer Eric Hill was justified in shooting Justus Howell, of Waukegan, on April 4, despite concerns of racial bias that arose after a coroner reported Howell had been shot in the back twice.</p><p>Howell had met a man to buy a handgun but tried to steal it, authorities said. At some point, he scuffled with the seller and the gun went off. Hill arrived minutes later, chased Howell through yards and repeatedly yelled, &quot;Stop and drop your gun,&quot; Nerheim said. The officer shot Howell when the teen turned toward him with the gun in his right hand, Nerheim said.</p><p>Zion is a community of about 24,000 people along Lake Michigan about 45 miles north of Chicago, near the Illinois-Wisconsin state line</p><p>Hill, a nine-year police veteran, feared for his own safety and believed that a fellow officer was just around the corner and that Howell was headed straight for him, Nerheim said.</p><p>&quot;Officer Hill was justified in his decision to use deadly force ... Howell was armed and dangerous,&quot; Nerheim said. He added that Hill&#39;s understanding that shots had been fired earlier and concern for the other officer factored into his calculation to shoot.</p><p>After the announcement by Nerheim at the county courthouse in Waukegan, several community activists gathered to express their anger. Several wore buttons that read, &quot;Fire Nerheim.&quot;</p><p>&quot;People have never had faith in the system and with this, the last faith is out the door,&quot; said Kasey Burton, a 41-year-old Zion resident. &quot;I think people are going to be upset.&quot;</p><p>But hours later, the Zion neighborhood where the shooting occurred was quiet. A bouquet of flowers marked the spot where Howell fell, fatally wounded. Included in a makeshift memorial for him on a nearby corner was a rock with the word &quot;peace&quot; scrawled on it.</p><p>Standing outside a grocery store nearby, resident Darion Nash, 22, said distrust of police runs deep.</p><p>&quot;I don&#39;t like the police either, and I don&#39;t do anything to get in trouble,&quot; she said. &quot;But they keep getting away with things.&quot;</p><p>Prosecutors on Thursday also released a poor quality video of the shooting from a business security camera in which Hill can be seen running about 15 feet behind the teen, when shots are fired and Howell falls forward. Nerheim conceded Howell turned ever so slightly, but he said it was enough for Hill to see Howell&#39;s eye and the silver semi-automatic pistol.</p><p>Outside of the news conference, Howell&#39;s family disputed the decision not to charge the officer.</p><p>&quot;There is no video or pictures of him actually holding a gun,&quot; Alice Howell, the teen&#39;s grandmother, told the Chicago Sun-Times. She previously compared the incident to another police shooting in South Carolina, in which a white officer was charged with murder after a video showed him repeatedly shooting a black man in the back.</p><p>Howell&#39;s mother, LaToya Howell, said she was upset that authorities said video showed her son turning toward Hill.</p><p>&quot;I have seen that video,&quot; Howell said, according the Chicago Tribune. &quot;There is nothing that suggests they should execute my son.&quot;</p><p>Nerheim told reporters that multiple witnesses verified Howell had a gun. Just one, he said, thought Howell may have thrown it to the ground before shots rang out.</p><p>&quot;That is clearly not supported from the other witnesses or the video,&quot; he said.</p><p>Zion police Chief Stephen Dumyahn said he expects Hill to return to duty soon.</p><p>Zion&#39;s police force is currently disproportionately white, with just three black officers and half a dozen Latinos out of a nearly 50 officers in all, according to Dumyahn.</p><p>&quot;Our goal,&quot; he said, &quot;is to do a better job of recruitment.&quot;</p></p> Thu, 14 May 2015 12:55:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/prosecutor-no-charges-white-cop-who-killed-black-teen-zion-112028 Jury clears cops in schizophrenic man’s death http://www.wbez.org/story/jury-clears-cops-schizophrenic-man%E2%80%99s-death-93555 <p><p>A federal jury Thursday afternoon cleared two Chicago police officers in the fatal shooting of a schizophrenic man in his Northwest Side bedroom.<br> <br> Raúl Barriera, 21, died the day after Sgt. Don Jerome struck him in the chest with a Taser electrode and Patrol Officer Andrew Hurman hit him twice with gunfire.<br> <br> Barriera lived with his mother, Lynette Wilson, at 1630 N. Tripp Ave. Wilson brought a lawsuit alleging that the officers used excessive force and that the death was wrongful.<br> <br> The shooting took place February 28, 2007, after Wilson called 911 for help with Barriera, who was refusing to leave his bedroom. In that call, Wilson said her son was a schizophrenic on medication. Paramedics and police officers arrived but Barriera remained in his room.<br> <br> The officers said they used their weapons after Barriera lunged at them with a knife. Wilson’s attorneys disputed that claim.<br> <br> The trial lasted eight days and ended Wednesday. The jury, an eight-member panel, deliberated for about three hours before clearing the city and the officers of liability.<br> <br> Arlene Martin, a city attorney in the case, praised the jurors. “The right thing happened,” she said.<br> <br> Before the trial, U.S. Judge William J. Hibbler threw out a claim by Wilson that the officers lacked sufficient training. WBEZ revealed in 2007 that neither Jerome nor Hurman had attended a 40-hour police department course designed to help officers respond to mental-health crises without using force.<br> <br> Since 2004, the department has put about 1,400 of its officers through the training. A 2008 study by Amy Watson, an associate professor of social work at the University of Illinois at Chicago, found that the training had results.<br> <br> “The trained officers were less likely to . . . pile on top of the person to control them, use a Taser or use some other type of force,” Watson says. “We also found that [the trained] officers directed more people to mental health services.”<br> <br> After the jury returned with its findings, one of Wilson’s attorneys told WBEZ there could be grounds for the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals to order a retrial. The attorney, Standish Willis, called it “very likely” that Wilson would bring that appeal.</p></p> Thu, 27 Oct 2011 23:50:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/jury-clears-cops-schizophrenic-man%E2%80%99s-death-93555 Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy addresses rise in police-involved shootings http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-07-26/police-superintendent-garry-mccarthy-addresses-rise-police-involved-shoo <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-July/2011-07-26/McCarthy AP file.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><em>During the original broadcast, </em>Eight Forty-Eight<em> said that police have been involved in more shootings over the last six months than in all of 2010. Police dispute that number but could not immediately provide the number of times officers shot at citizens in 2010 or 2011. They provided only the number of times officers shot and injured citizens. According to the Independent Police Review Authority police shot and injured 44 people in 2010. Chicago police say in 2011 they've shot and injured 41 people so far.</em></p><p>Crime is down in Chicago, but the number of police-involved shootings isnot. Monday night two civilians were shot by police-- one a 13-year-old boy. According to Independent Police Review Authority, 18 people have been killed by police fire in 2011 so far. &nbsp;That total for last year was 13. But cops are in the crossfire too: Police say violence toward officers is on the rise. Mayor Emanuel has moved more officers onto the streets. Leading the efforts against crime is Garry McCarthy -- Chicago’s new police superintendent.</p><p>The former Newark, New Jersey police director recently earned his Chicago blues. He decided to complete academy training before donning the Chicago Police Department uniform. Now, Supt. McCarthy is dressed and ready to confront what he described as a "wanton disregard for law." <em>Eight Forty-Eight’s</em> Alison Cuddy spoke to the new police chief the morning after two police-involved shootings.</p><p>Cuddy began by asking Supt. McCarthy about the previous night’s events. The superintendent cautioned that the information he had was preliminary and that he expected a full briefing following completion of the investigation. Generally, McCarthy said, initial information from the scene is incorrect.</p><p>Cuddy repeated an early estimate of eight shots fired, reported by the victim’s family—McCarthysaid he’d heardthere were six.</p><p>“Sometimes he’s [a victim] struck in and out, so, it counts as, you know…two holes, one shot,” McCarthy said.</p><p>Cuddy asked if it was standard to fire multiple shots. The superintendent wanted to dispel some myths: Officers do not aim to shoot someone in the hand, they do not aim at their leg—they’re trained, said McCarthy, &nbsp;to fire at center mass until the threat has been abated. There is no magic number, he clarified.</p><p>The number of police-involved shootings is up— but McCarthy offered some context: The Chicago Police Department recovers more firearms than any other jurisdiction in the country.</p><p>“Just think about that for a second: Every single time a police officer takes a gun off the street, they are in an armed confrontation that can, in fact, result in somebody being killed,” McCarthy said.</p><p>He estimated that some 20 shootings occurred since his arrival; firearms were recovered at 16 of those scenes. The weapon recovered Monday night at the scene involving the 13-year-old victim was described in reports as a BB gun, but McCarthy called it an “imitation pistol” fashioned to look like a real firearm.</p><p>And so, McCarthy explained, it becomes difficult to “armchair quarterback” officers in life-and-death situations when the department is recovering firearms in the vast majority of armed confrontations.</p><p>Cuddy then asked whether the spike in police-involved shootings could be attributed to the sheer volume of guns and weapons. McCarthy said that the unabated flow of illegal firearms into Chicago is fueling the incidents, emphasizing repeatedly the fact that the firearms are illegal.</p><p>Paradoxically, crime in the city is down, but McCarthysaid he &nbsp;is not satisfied.</p><p>“More than 400 murders every year in this city over the last decade or so. Even though it’s down, are we willing to say that’s acceptable?” McCarthy asked.</p><p>McCarthy said no, reducing murders is not enough. A number of officers and new recruits were recently pulled from administrative assignments to patrol streets in high-crime neighborhoods. Cuddy asked whether inexperience or outdated training was a concern—McCarthy said it wasn’t; officers received an update to their training before returning to the field.</p><p>Cuddy asked whether resources or additional back-up could prevent shootings but McCarthy explained that while the former is a union-based issue, the latter is inconsequential.</p><p>“You shoot if you’re in an armed confrontation and you feel that your life is in danger. Whether or not there’s somebody standing next to you or behind you is not a factor in whether or not you’re going to discharge your firearm,” McCarthy explained.</p><p>Murder is not new to McCarthy. Newark, New Jersey and Chicago suffer from homicide rates higher than both New York and Los Angeles. But Chicago’s gang problem is one he did not experience in his last post, he said. &nbsp;People, McCarthy said, often get caught up in “romanticizing” gangs. Cuddy asked him to explain.</p><p>“If you look at defending the honor of your gang and so on and so forth, I mean, let’s face it, that’s nonsense. Defending gang turf, you know, it’s some sort of, ‘yeah, I’m part of a gang and this is what we do.’ I’m sorry, it’s criminal activity—whether you’re dealing drugs, whether you’re shooting somebody or whether you’re involved in a robbery crew,” he elaborated.</p><p>The crusade to end gang violence in Chicago was a totem for the last police superintendent. McCarthy’s predecessor, Jody Weis, was lauded for his efforts to get guns and gangs off Chicago’s streets but criticized for failing to connect with the rank and file.</p><p>McCarthy said that as a police leader, superintendents walk a tightrope between supporting officers when they’re right and disciplining them when they’re not. He said that he has officers’ backs but will not defend indefensible behavior.</p><p>“I’m not going to defend an officer on videotape beating the heck out of a bartender at 2 o’clock in the morning intoxicated,” McCarthy added.</p><p>Mistakes, McCarthy said, must be identified, admitted and &nbsp;not repeated. Fairness and accountability, he said, are the heart of improved morale.</p></p> Tue, 26 Jul 2011 13:22:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-07-26/police-superintendent-garry-mccarthy-addresses-rise-police-involved-shoo