Wednesday, December 09, 2015

No charges for Chicago officer in 2014 shooting of black man

A Chicago police officer will face no state charges in the shooting death of a 25-year-old black man in 2014, a prosecutor said Monday, ending a case that had drawn new attention in the days since a murder charge was filed against the officer involved in another shooting.

Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez said Officer George Hernandez would not be charged in the killing of Ronald Johnson.

The announcement followed several weeks of uproar over the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, whose 2014 death was captured on a police dashboard camera. Officer Jason Van Dyke was charged with first-degree murder in that shooting last month

Anger over delays in releasing the McDonald video has led to mounting pressure on the city of Chicago to reveal other police videos from other shootings, including the death of Johnson, who was shot and killed by the police in an unrelated episode eight days before the death of McDonald in 2014.

Facing mounting pressure over the matter, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced last week he would make the new video public, reversing the city’s earlier position, in which it fought the release in court filings.

The police say they were answering a report of gunshots fired on the city’s South Side when they came upon Johnson on Oct. 12, 2014. The police have said he ran when they approached him, and then pointed a gun in the direction of the officers who were pursuing him before they shot him.

But a lawyer for Johnson’s family, Michael Oppenheimer, says Johnson was running away from the officers and never pointed a gun at anyone before being shot; Oppenheimer says he believes that a gun recovered at the scene was planted by police.

Of the video’s expected release, Oppenheimer said last week that he was relieved that it would soon be made public, but he wondered aloud, “Who knows how many more of these there are out there?”

The city has said its long-standing policy has been to keep police dashboard-camera videos private as long as investigations into such shootings are ongoing. But a county judge last month ordered the city to release the McDonald video, and Emanuel has been under intense pressure to explain why the city waited 13 months after the shooting to reveal that video and what it will now do in other cases.

An autopsy showed that Johnson was hit by two bullets — one that entered the back section of his shoulder, then severed his jugular vein; the other struck the back of his leg.

Johnson’s family filed a suit in federal court last year alleging wrongful death and excessive force in the case. As part of that discovery for that suit, lawyers for Johnson’s family were provided a copy of the dashboard video but under a protective order that bars them from disseminating it.

In an effort to let the public view the video, Johnson’s family filed a public-records complaint against the Police Department, seeking to force it to be made public.

Original report here

(And don't forget your ration of Wicked Thoughts for today. Now hosted on Wordpress.  If you cannot access it, go to the MIRROR SITE, where  posts  appear as well as on  the primary site.  I have reposted  the archives (past posts) for Wicked Thoughts  HERE or HERE

No comments: