‘Shoot him’: Viral video appears to show police shooting at Chicago L station

Tribune Content Agency

CHICAGO — In a viral video of a police shooting that Mayor Lori Lightfoot calls “extremely disturbing,” two Chicago officers appear to struggle to handcuff a man while one of them repeatedly yells “stop resisting” and then “shoot him” at the Grand station on the CTA Red Line just north of downtown Friday evening.

The struggle continues and an officer yells at the man, “Put your f—— hands down.” The man puts his hand over his eyes and appears to stagger, the video shows, and the officer appears to fire her gun at him. Another shot rings out as the man scrambles up the escalator.

The graphic video of the police shooting was retweeted nearly 4,000 times, and elicited concerned statements from Lightfoot and high ranking police officials. The Chicago Police Department released an unusually detailed statement that said the department had requested the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office to respond “due to the potential criminal nature of this incident.”

“With the strong caveat that one perspective does not depict the entirety of the incident, the video is extremely disturbing and the actions by these officers are deeply concerning,” Lightfoot tweeted on Friday night.

On Saturday, Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said, “We have serious tactical concerns about what we saw,” with regards to the shooting that was captured on video.

Family members retained attorney Gloria Schmidt to represent them, Schmidt told the Tribune on Saturday.

“My focus right now is to ensure no facts are hidden about the incident,” she said.

Schmidt said her office is doing an “independent investigation into the facts.” Schmidt also represents brothers Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo, key prosecution witnesses who told police Jussie Smollett paid them to stage a homophobic and racially charged attack.

Schmidt said the man, 33, was shot in the buttocks area and in the abdomen, has already had one surgery but will likely need multiple operations.

The shooting happened shortly after 4 p.m. Friday as afternoon rush hour was underway at the busy subway station at 521 N. State St., just outside the Loop. Two officers assigned to the mass transit unit tried to stop a man who they saw “jumping from train (car) to train (car),” which is a violation of a city ordinance, Deputy Superintendent Barbara West said at a Friday night press conference.

Police declined to answer when asked if a weapon was confiscated from the man shot.

The officers chased the man from the train and onto the platform, and then struggled to take him into custody, West said. Both officers deployed their Tasers on the man, she said. “At some point” during the brawl, one of the officers discharged their gun, striking the man twice, West said.

Interim Chicago police Superintendent Charlie Beck is “extremely concerned and has significant questions about the incident,” according to a statement from the department.

The Twitter user posted two videos, one, which is 2 minutes and 21 seconds long, purports to show the events leading up to the shooting. The other, 2 minutes and 17 seconds long, appears to show the shooting.

In the earlier video, retweeted about 500 times, the two officers, a man and a woman, struggle with a man, who is standing up until the officers appear to deploy the Tasers, bringing him to the ground at the foot of an escalator that takes commuters up away from the train platform. As he lays on the ground, the man continues to struggle against the officers’ attempts to arrest him, the video appears to show.

In the other, more widely shared video, the man repeats: “I didn’t do nothing to you guys.”

They continue to struggle, and the male officer yells: “Shoot him,” according to the video. The female cop appears to pepper spray him.

The male officer yells, “give me your hands” as the man continues to writhe on the ground at the foot of the escalator.

Still on the ground, the man struggles to move toward the escalator, the video appears to show both officers yell: “Stop resisting.”

The man stands up, still fighting the attempts to restrain him. The male officer again yells, “shoot him” and the female officer steps back. She yells, “Put your f—— hands down,” according to the video.

The man appears to stagger, and he puts one hand over his eyes. The female officer appears to fire at him, according to the video. The man yells and tries to run up the escalator, according to the video. The officers follow up the escalator, and another gunshot rings out while the man is not in the frame.

The man was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in critical condition, but was stabilized after surgery, police said.

The Civilian Office of Police Accountability will be investigating the shooting, as is routine, and both officers will be restricted from field duties and will be placed on administrative duties pending the outcome of an investigation. The department is conducting both administrative and criminal investigations, West said.

“To ensure full transparency and accountability, I support Superintendent Beck’s decision to contact the State’s Attorney due to the potential criminal nature of this incident,” Lightfoot tweeted Friday night.

By early Saturday afternoon, the Cook County state’s attorney’s office and the ACLU had weighed in:

“The Chicago Police Department contacted the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office to review the officer-involved shooting that occurred at a CTA Red Line station on February 28, 2020 for possible criminal charges,” a statement from the state’s attorney’s office said. “We are working in partnership with the FBI on this investigation and will be unable to comment further while it is pending.”

Rachel Murphy, staff attorney of ACLU of Illinois, in an emailed statement called for a “full investigation into this event, with appropriate transparency and accountability.”

“Once again, we see evidence of the lack of meaningful de-escalation by Chicago police officers. A man who apparently did nothing more than jumped trains ultimately was shot yesterday by a police officer, an event captured on video by a fellow CTA rider,” Murphy said in the statement.

“The consent decree guiding police reform approved a year ago requires officers to use de-escalation techniques to prevent or reduce the need for force. Likewise, the decree mandates public input into policies that guide policing in Chicago. It is critical that the community be part of the dialogue around when and how officers may use force. Thus far, CPD has not adequately included the public in the process of developing these policies,” Murphy said.

The shooting came on the same day Chicago police unveiled plans to beef up patrols because of a spike in crime on the CTA’s rail system. The department announced it will add 50 more officers to the unit that patrols the “L,” bringing the total to 250. And, in a first for the department, each transit unit officer will be equipped with tracking devices to better monitor and adjust how they’re deployed.

The department is also opening a Strategic Decision Support Center in the downtown police district, which for the first time will give police a central location to monitor the system’s 32,000 cameras in real time.


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