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Chicago police officer, sergeant charged with taking pictures unarmed man in Pilsen in July

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CHICAGO (CBS) — A Chicago police officer and sergeant are every dealing with felony expenses after Cook County prosecutors say they shot an unarmed man in July in Pilsen.

Chicago Police have beforehand described the July 22 incident at 18th and Morgan Streets as a shootout, however Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx on Friday stated the 2 officers being charged have been the primary to open fireplace, and had no justification for opening fireplace on the 23-year-old man who was shot.

Chicago Police Sgt. Christopher Liakopoulos, 43, and Officer Ruben Reynoso, 42, every face expenses of aggravated battery with a firearm, aggravated discharge of a firearm, and official misconduct. 

Their bail has been set at $25,000 every, that means they have to submit $2,500 to be launched from custody. They even have been ordered to give up their firearms and Firearm Owners Identification Cards.

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Chicago Police Sgt. Chrisopher Liakopoulos (left) and Officer Ruben Reynoso (proper) are charged with taking pictures an unarmed man within the Pilsen neighborhood on July 22, 2022.

Chicago Police


Both officers are assigned to the Major Accident Investigation Unit, and have been relieved of their police powers. They turned themselves in Thursday night time. Foxx stated they withstand 30 years in jail if convicted.

Police have stated, shortly earlier than 7 a.m. on July 22, two officers with the Major Accident Investigation Unit have been driving to the police academy for coaching, after they noticed a bunch of 4 individuals carrying masks and loitering exterior a closed retailer close to 18th and Morgan streets.

Police have stated, when one of many officers recognized himself as regulation enforcement, one individual within the group pulled out a gun and began taking pictures, prompting the officers to shoot again.

“They have been masked up, clearly armed, and as soon as our officer recognized himself as a police officer, they started pulling a gun and taking pictures at our officers, attempting to kill them,” Police Supt. David Brown stated on the time.

After the preliminary change of gunfire, the officers bought out of their automobile, and the shooter ran off, persevering with to fireplace on the officers, police have stated.  

However, Foxx stated a assessment of proof within the case contradicted the officers’ claims, and exhibits that Liakopoulos and Reynoso fired first.

“The officers concerned on this incident didn’t have provocation or justification to shoot the unarmed sufferer throughout this incident. The proof doesn’t assist the usage of lethal drive associated to the taking pictures of the unarmed sufferer, and was not lawful,” Foxx stated. “We can’t ignore or stand by acts of unprovoked violence, even by the hands of those that are sworn to serve and defend our communities.”

At the officers’ bond listening to Friday afternoon, Assistant State’s Attorney Alyssa Janicki stated, after Liakopoulos and Reynoso stopped to query a bunch of males they noticed exterior some closed companies close to 18th and Morgan to ask them what they have been doing there, a 23-year-old man and a juvenile began strolling towards the passenger aspect of the officers’ unmarked squad automobile.

While the juvenile was carrying a satchel on his chest that had a gun, the 23-year-old man was unarmed; holding a cellular phone and wine bottle in a single hand, along with his different hand empty, in accordance with Janicki.

After approaching the officers’ automobile, the juvenile turned and ran away, whereas the 23-year-old man confirmed officers each of his palms. Janicki stated that is when each Reynoso and Liakopoulos pointed their weapons out the passenger’s aspect window and began taking pictures.

The 23-year-old man was shot within the again and leg, and fell to the bottom, in accordance with Janicki. The juvenile saved operating east on 18th Street, earlier than firing a number of pictures on the officers, who fired a number of extra pictures.

A pedestrian who was strolling behind the juvenile on the time suffered a graze wound, in accordance with Janicki. Neither the juvenile nor the officers have been wounded.

Prosecutors stated the 23-year-old man who was shot was unarmed and by no means fired any pictures at police.

“The sufferer, who was shot and injured on this incident, was not in possession of a weapon, nor did the sufferer fireplace a weapon at these two officers,” Foxx stated.

That 23-year-old man, Miguel Medina, has filed a federal lawsuit in opposition to the town and Liakopoulos.

During an interview with detectives on the day of the taking pictures, the officers advised detectives they opened fireplace solely after the juvenile shot at them, in accordance with Janicki. The subsequent day, in an interview with each prosecutors and detectives, they stated they did not know who shot first, however stated the juvenile pointed a gun at them earlier than any pictures have been fired.

Several days later, video proof obtained in the course of the investigation contradicted the officers’ accounts, exhibiting 23-year-old man was standing on the street close to the open passenger’s aspect window of the automobile, with each palms seen, and the juvenile was operating away from the car when the officers began taking pictures.

Defense attorneys disputed prosecutors’ account of the taking pictures, saying the 23-year-old man gestured at officers along with his hand as each he and the juvenile have been strolling towards the automobile, and claiming it is unclear from the surveillance video who fired first.

“It’s not clear who fired first … nevertheless it would not matter if he is pointing the gun at him,” stated Reynoso’s protection legal professional Brian Sexton.

Sexton additionally accused prosecutors of shifting too shortly to file expenses earlier than the Civilian Office of Police Accountability has even accomplished a assessment of the case.

“The state has jumped the shark,” Sexton stated.

The officers concerned didn’t have physique cameras, in accordance with Foxx. The video proof within the case got here from surveillance cameras close to the scene.

Sexton stated he needs a protecting order in cease COPA from releasing that video so a jury pool is not tainted.     

Foxx stated an investigation stays open in regard to the juvenile, who has not been charged.

The Civilian Office of Police Accountability is also investigating the officers’ use of drive, however has but to announce any findings.

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2022-09-16 21:44:31

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