Fairley and Futterman on the Police Board’s Refusal to Fire Officer for Shooting an Unarmed Autistic Teen

After Off-Duty Sergeant Shot Autistic Teen, Police Board Failed To Review Key Evidence

Chicago Police Board members did not review key evidence about Sgt. Khalil Muhammad’s off-duty shooting of an unarmed teenager with autism before they decided in December to keep him on the force, a WBEZ investigation has found.

The evidence the board failed to review raises one doubt after another about Muhammad’s explanations for chasing Ricardo “Ricky” Hayes, 18, down a South Side block and firing two rounds at the teen, who suffered gunshot wounds but survived.


University of Chicago Law Professor Craig Futterman called the plea agreement “a deal between a superintendent and a sergeant — two police officers — so that a sergeant, who shot a disabled child without any justification whatsoever, can keep his gun and CPD badge.”

“That shouldn’t make anyone in the city sleep well,” Futterman said.


University of Chicago Law Professor Sharon Fairley, a former federal prosecutor who last month finished a survey of police oversight in the nation’s 100 most populous cities, said the “whole point of having a separate civilian entity to be involved in making these decisions is so that that entity can make independent judgment about what should happen in these matters.”

“When you have a stipulation and there’s literally no [evidentiary] hearing, then the board is less able to exercise its independent judgment with regard to what the appropriate penalty should be,” said Fairley, who stepped down as COPA chief administrator in October 2017 as she began campaigning for Illinois attorney general.

Read more at WBEZ News