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Video Shows Two Chicago Police Officers Opening Fire From Unmarked Car In Shooting That Resulted In Criminal Charges Against Both Officers – NBC Chicago

Surveillance video released Tuesday shows two Chicago police officers opening fire from their unmarked car last July, a shooting that has resulted in criminal charges against both of them.

The video is among documents and papers released by the Civilian Police Accountability Office as it investigates the July 22 shooting that injured two unarmed men in Pilsen.

The release comes four days after Sgt. Christopher Liakopoulos and Officer Ruben Reynoso were charged with felonies, and just a day after a Cook County judge refused to stop COPA from releasing the videos.

The only video that captures the shooting shows the officers’ gray Ford Fusion backing up as a group of people linger on a sidewalk in the 1000 block of West 18th Street. Two of the group then walk down the street towards the car, and one of them, Miguel Medina, raises his hand in the direction of the officers.

Medina is shot almost immediately and knocked to the ground. Reynoso and Liakopoulos then jump out of the car and begin shooting at someone off frame – apparently a 17-year-old boy who prosecutors say ran away and began shooting at the cops.

As Liakopoulos gives chase, Reynoso stays by the car while Medina lies in the street. Neither officer appears to be administering the aid.

One person appears to check Medina, followed by a second who comes running as the two officers stand near him. The video ends shortly after three police SUVs and a fire truck arrive and a crowd gathers around Medina.

The video has no sound. But other videos that don’t capture the shooting include the sound of gunfire and the initial distress call played on police radio.

“Hey, do you need a doctor?” one person is later heard saying as someone else shouts in the background. “Hey, do you need first aid?”

Medina, 23, was shot in the lower back and right leg, according to an incident report included in the statement. An arrest report notes that he was taken into custody for aggravated assault on an officer, but was eventually released because there was insufficient evidence.

Reached by phone last week, Medina said the police “shot me for no reason. Once the video is posted, it will show what happened. Lawyers for Medina said they filed a lawsuit in federal court alleging false arrest and excessive force.

Because the 17-year-old is underage, COPA spokesperson Ephraim Eaddy said the agency is not making a public video showing him. Lawyers for the officers tried unsuccessfully to prevent COPA from disclosing anything, arguing that the disclosure would only show “half” of the incident.

The video is at the heart of the case against the officers and would go against the narrative initially presented by the police officers.

Chicago Police Superintendent. David Brown first told reporters that a gunman “shot first”. But on Monday, he agreed with the state’s attorney’s office that the video evidence refuted the initial claim that “there was an initial exchange of gunfire.”

Liakopoulos, 43, and Reynoso, 42, both face up to 30 years in prison for aggravated assault with a firearm, aggravated discharge from a firearm and official misconduct. They were released on bail on Friday and stripped of their police powers.

At a press conference announcing the charges last Friday, State’s Attorney Kim Foxx said the video shows the officers lied when they said they returned fire after being fired upon.

In tactical response reports released Tuesday, both officers made this false statement. The two marked squares indicate that an “offender” fired the first shot. Liakopoulos also ticked a box in his report that they were “ambushed [with] no warning.”

Assigned to the Major Accidents Unit, the officers were wearing civilian clothes and on their way to a training class when they stopped to investigate a group of people that morning, the assistant state’s attorney said. , Alyssa Janicki, during their bail hearing. Neither wore body-worn cameras.

Medina and the teenager, a satchel on the front of his body, approached the officers, according to Janicki, who said Medina was holding a bottle of wine and a cellphone in one hand.

As Medina stood on the passenger side of the police cruiser and showed his hands, Reynoso pointed a gun out the window, Janicki said. Liakopoulos also grabbed his gun, leaning into Reynoso as they both fired at Medina, leaving him badly injured.

The 17-year-old fled, grabbed a gun from his bag and began shooting at officers, who returned fire, Janicki said.

A document released by COPA provides new details about an innocent bystander injured during the exchange. The 36-year-old said he was returning from a gym with his friend on 18th Street when he saw three men across the street, one of them waving a bottle, before as gunshots ring out.

As he and his friend fled, he was shot in the leg and collapsed, the report said. Someone passing by offered to drive him to someone’s house. From there, his friend drove him and his wife to Rush University Medical Center.

When police sought to charge the teenager with attempted murder, both Liakopoulos and Reynoso claimed he shot first, Janicki said. But in a later interview with the state’s attorney’s office, officers said they did not know who fired first, but claimed the young man pointed a gun at them before firing at Medina.

Reynoso’s lawyer Brian Sexton claimed that during the exchange of gunfire Reynoso focused on the 17-year-old with the gun and never fired in the direction of Medina.

As for his client’s conflicting statements, Sexton argued that he misremembered the “traumatic and stressful event.” Once Reynoso was able to watch the video, Sexton said, he told COPA and the state’s attorney’s office that he “just didn’t remember” the shooting.

Sexton said prosecutors had “dropped” the charges against the boy, but Foxx said on Friday the case was still under investigation.

Liakopoulos’ lawyer, Tim Grace, asked the court to focus on whether the officers’ actions were “objectively reasonable”. Grace noted that they were on duty when they were “confronted by an armed assailant who points a gun at them and ends up shooting them”.

“We don’t use 20/20 hindsight, we don’t guess, we don’t slow down video like the state’s attorney’s office does,” Grace said.

He said he expected COPA to only release “half of the video,” indicating the agency would not be doing public surveillance footage showing the 17-year-old shooting a gun. He asked Judge Maryam Ahmad to stop the release, but she deferred the request to a hearing before Judge Mary Marubio on Monday.

There, lawyers warned that the incomplete video could skew potential jurors. While the video would show the officers opening fire, Sexton said, it would not show the teenager “getting into a two-point position and shooting two officers.”

Marubio, however, refused to keep the video secret.

NBC Chicago

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