The agency that investigates Chicago police shootings finally has a key dash-cam video from a fatal police shooting in 2011. It took the city agency more than five-and-a-half years to get the video even though its existence was far from secret.
The dash-cam footage shows the traffic stop that ended with the fatal Chicago Police shooting of Darius Pinex. It was shown in open court during a federal lawsuit against the city. Police recorded the video, the city law department had it, but the Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA) investigators did not know it existed until WBEZ reported on it last week. WBEZ made inquiries after IPRA posted evidence from about 100 open cases and the Pinex video was not included in the upload. That is when the agency discovered it never had what is arguably a key piece of evidence.
The Pinex shooting is one of IPRA’s oldest open cases.
An attorney for Pinex’s family says the video directly contradicts the officers’ version of the traffic stop that ended in Pinex’s death.
While it doesn’t show the shooting itself, the footage does show the moments immediately before and after.
The traffic stop shown in the dash-cam video at the center of the Pinex investigation occurred on Jan. 7, 2011. Officers Gildardo Siera and Raoul Mosqueda say Pinex refused to stop, so they drove in front of his vehicle to force him to pull over.
After that, officers exited the car with their guns drawn and told Pinex and his passenger to come out with their hands up. But they say when Mosqueda was behind the car, Pinex reversed and hit the officer, and then drove forward toward officer Sierra.
They say that’s when Mosqueda opened fire, killing Pinex.
Pinex’s family filed a federal lawsuit in 2012.
Earlier this month, the city and the Pinex family agreed to a settlement.
That settlement is pending city council approval, but family attorney Steve Greenberg says the city will pay “in excess of $2 million.”
“They claim the car was fleeing from them and it was clear from the video that it was an absolutely routine traffic stop, [Pinex] pulls over within 10 or 12 seconds after their lights go on,” Greenberg said.
The Chicago Police Department did not respond to a question about why the video would be withheld from the IPRA investigator.
A spokesman for the city’s law department said it falls on IPRA to inquire about evidence, not on city attorneys to alert the agency.
IPRA spokeswoman Mia Sissac agreed.
“It is not [Department of Law]’s job job to tell us what they have, it is up to IPRA investigators to request materials,” Sissac said.
She said the new administration has put new checks in place that would prevent such an oversight from happening again.
Patrick Smith is a WBEZ producer and reporter. Follow him @pksmid