2 Chicago police officers face felony charges in July shooting of unarmed man

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The case against them centered on CCTV that contradicted their statements to investigators about the incident in Pilsen, on the city’s Lower West Side.

sergeant. Christopher Liakopoulos, 43, and officer Ruben Reynoso, 42, are each charged with aggravated battery with a firearm, aggravated discharge with a firearm and official misconduct, which are felonies punishable by 30 years in prison, Foxx said.

Liakopoulos and Reynoso, who were relieved of their police powers, surrendered Thursday night, Foxx said. They appeared in a bail hearing on Friday and were ordered to post $25,000 bail and surrender their weapons, according to Foxx.

The man who was shot did not have a weapon, nor did he fire a gun at the two officers, Foxx said.

According to Foxx, the 23-year-old victim was injured and “has since recovered and is cooperating with authorities.”

The victim, Miguel Medina, filed a federal lawsuit Friday against Liakopoulos and the city of Chicago.

His lawyer, Gregory Kulis, said in court that his client was “clearly innocent” of a crime. Medina was no threat to officers when he was shot twice in the back and once in the leg, he said. The four-count complaint was filed against the officer they believe shot Medina, he said.

Kulis said his client was taken to hospital for his injuries, but hours later police took him in for questioning. After being released without charge, the lawyer said, Medina was in pain and bleeding and returned to hospital.

The Chicago city government did not respond to CNN’s request for comment on Medina’s lawsuit.

Surveillance video shows shooting, prosecutors say

During their investigation, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office reviewed the surveillance video “and based on this review of all the evidence, including this video, it is our position based on the facts, the evidence and the law, that the officers involved in this incident had no provocation or justification to shoot the unarmed victim during this incident,” Foxx said.

The statements the two gave to investigators were “directly contradicted” by the evidence recorded on the videotape. According to the state’s attorney, the video, which has not been made public, shows the officers firing their weapons before returning fire.

After the bail hearing, Assistant State’s Attorney Alyssa Janicki read to reporters the prosecution statement filed with the court. Prosecutors said the two officers were in an unmarked car heading to a police training course on the morning of July 22 when they saw a group of men walking. They stopped to ask what they were doing in front of a business that was closed, Janicki said. Earlier, Foxx said neither officer had body-worn cameras at the time.

Medina and a minor walked towards the police vehicle, she said, noting that the minor was “carrying a criss-crossed satchel over his body, which contained a firearm.” As they approached the defendants’ vehicle, the minor held the gun. The victim, Medina, had a cell phone and a bottle of wine in one hand and the other was empty. At one point, the miner turned around and ran away as Medina continued to walk towards the car, Janicki said.

When Medina reached the passenger side, he waved to the officers with his empty hand and showed the cell phone and the bottle of wine in the other.

The officers then both fired “several shots” towards Medina from inside the vehicle, hitting him in the back and leg. Medina fell to the ground.

The miner continued running across the street and then fired at the officers who returned fire by discharging their weapons, Janicki said.

A pedestrian was scraped in the leg during the incident, she said.

The officers were questioned after the Chicago Police Department contacted their office to seek charges against the minor, Janicki said.

During the first interview, officers told detectives that they only fired their weapons after “they were shot by the miner”. In a second interview, they told a detective and an assistant district attorney that they did not know who fired first, but that the minor was pointing the gun at them before the shots began.

But several days after the shooting, Janicki said his office received surveillance video that contradicted what the defendants had told detectives. The video revealed that when “the defendants discharged their weapons at the victim, the victim was standing in the street near the open passenger window of the defendants’ vehicle with both of his hands visible, one empty hand and the other holding the cell phone and the bottle of wine,” said Janicki, who added that the minor was seen running away from the vehicle.

Reynoso’s attorney, Brian Sexton, argued during the bail hearing that it was unclear from the video which officers shot first, according to CNN affiliate WBBM. CNN has reached out to Sexton and Liakopoulos’ attorney, Timothy Grace, for comment.

Foxx: We can’t ignore unprovoked violence

“The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office is committed to justice and fairness and that is what brings us here today. We do not take this great responsibility lightly, nor do we let’s not celebrate the indictment of the officers either,” Foxx said. “We stand with the hard-working men and women of the Chicago Police Department, who, like many law enforcement partners in Cook County, face danger every day to keep us safe. “

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“In this particular case, we cannot ignore or support unprovoked acts of violence, even from those who are sworn to serve and protect our communities,” Foxx added.

Both officers are members of the Chicago Police Department’s Major Accident Investigation Unit. Liakopoulos has been with the department since 2001 and Reynoso has worked for the agency since 2003.

CNN contacted the Chicago Police Department, which confirmed the officers had been relieved of their police powers, but did not comment on the specifics of the case.

In a video posted to YouTube, John Catanzara Jr., president of the Fraternal Order of Police Chicago Lodge 7, said, “Two of our officers have been charged by Kim Foxx for doing their job. An active shootout with an armed offender, and they engaged him and fired bullets.” Catanzara did not respond to multiple requests for comment from CNN on Friday.

The Chicago Police Civil Accountability Office is also looking into the incident. It is planned to release the videos of the shooting next week. Lawyers for the officers asked a judge to stop that video broadcast, WBBM reported.

According to Foxx, the investigation related to the minor’s involvement is ongoing.

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