Police accountability advocates say they’re troubled by a recommendation to keep an officer on the force who shot a teenager without justification. A city investigation found Chicago Police Sgt. Khalil Muhammad had no reason to think the teen, Ricardo Hayes, had committed a crime and yet the officer pursued him and shot him twice. The agency that investigates police shootings, the Civilian Office of Police Accountability, or COPA, initially recommended a 90-day suspension for the officer, but is now agreeing to a proposed 6-month suspension.
“It’s deeply troubling that COPA could make the right call in terms of what happened here, and in terms of what the officer did wrong, but still say this is an officer we want on our police force,” said Sheila Bedi, an attorney with the MacArthur Justice center.
Craig Futterman, clinical professor of law at the University of Chicago, said the shooting of Hayes illustrated a trifecta of issues: the unjustified shooting itself, the attempts to cover it up and the lack of strong oversight.
“I can’t say how dispiriting this is, that this happened now after the lessons from the murder of Laquan McDonald, after the Department of Justice investigation, after the many pledges from CPD’s leadership about their commitment to reform,” said Futterman.
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