CHICAGO (AP) — Two Chicago police officers face felony charges for allegedly shooting and seriously wounding an unarmed man during a July shootout on the city’s southwest side that also wounded a second man, authorities said Friday.
Sgt. Christopher Liakopoulos, 43, and Officer Ruben Reynoso, 42, have been charged with one count each of aggravated battery with a firearm, aggravated discharge of a firearm and official misconduct, said Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx.
Foxx said the officers were relieved of their police powers on Thursday before they turned themselves in to authorities. Both were slated to appear for a Friday afternoon bond court hearing, she said.
It wasn’t immediately clear if the officers have attorneys who could speak on their behalf.
Foxx said both officers “are being charged with having fired their shots” that wounded an unarmed 23-year-old man — identified separately Friday through a civil court filing as Miguel Medina — on July 22 in the city’s Pilsen neighborhood. That man has since recovered and is cooperating with the investigation, she said.
“The victim who was shot and injured in this incident was not in possession of a weapon, nor did he fire a weapon at these two officers,” Foxx said during a news conference.
After the shooting, police said in a statement that two officers who had observed four people loitering in front of a closed store stopped to investigate and identified themselves as police.
Police said one of the four in the group then displayed a handgun and an exchange of gunfire ensued in which Medina suffered gunshot wounds and was transported to a hospital in serious condition. A 36-year-old man who was passing by suffered a graze wound to the leg and was taken to a hospital for treatment, police said.
Foxx said that based on a review of the evidence, including video surveillance footage, prosecutors believe “the officers involved in this incident did not have provocation or justification to shoot the unarmed” Medina.
A juvenile is also being investigated in the case, Foxx said.
Foxx did not provide some of the details about what transpired, including whether the person who allegedly showed the officers a handgun actually fired on them, whether that person was arrested afterward and whether the wounded 23-year-old man — Medina — was among the group police approached in front of the store. She said further details would read out during or after the bond hearing.
“The evidence does not support the use of deadly force related to the shooting of the unarmed victim, and was not lawful,” Foxx said.
After the shooting, Foxx said, the two officers “made representations to legal authorities, including the Cook County state’s attorney’s office, that was directly contradicted by the videotaped evidence.”
Medina filed a federal lawsuit on Friday against Liakopoulos and the city accusing the officer of using excessive force and battery during their interaction and falsely arresting him afterward.
Medina alleges that he and others were walking when the officers drove up in police vehicle and started questioning the group. Medina says he showed his hands and began walking away when Liakopoulos fired shots at him from the vehicle, striking him several times.
Medina was treated at a hospital for his wounds and then held for several hours at a police station, though he was never charged, according to the lawsuit, which doesn’t say how much Medina is seeking and requests a jury trial.
The Civilian Office of Police Accountability is investigating the shooting and has a deadline of Sept. 22 to release materials related to the shooting, including videos, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.