Surveillance video released on Tuesday showed the baffling moment when two Chicago police officers shot an unarmed man in the street in July – leaving him writhing in the street for minutes as cars drove past.
The videoReleased by the Civil Police Accountability Office (COPA), it was cited Friday as direct evidence used to indict Chicago police officers Chestopher Liacopoulos and Robin Reynuso in the shooting — a rare event in a city with a long history of police violence.
Cook County District Attorney Kimberly Fox said the video directly contradicts the officers’ statements after the shooting, when they claimed they were shot first.
“We cannot ignore or stand by unwarranted acts of violence, even at the hands of those who have sworn to serve and protect our communities,” Fox said last week.
The two officers, Lyakopoulos and Reynoso, were charged with three counts of aggravated battery with a firearm, aggravated discharge of a firearm, and official misconduct—that is, officers lied about being shot first.
Both were released on bail on Friday, which was set at $25,000 each. The two policemen were also ordered by Judge Mariam Ahmed to surrender their weapons.
Reynoso’s attorney, Brian Sexton, did not immediately respond to requests for comment, but at Friday’s bail hearing, he protested the publication of the video, which he claimed was incomplete. The judge rejected his request to prevent his release.
That sentiment was echoed by Sgt. Lycopolis’ attorney, Tim Grace, who called the release of the footage an “unfair process that calls into question COPA’s integrity and bias,” in a text message to The Daily Beast Tuesday night.
Surveillance video shows the two policemen slowly retreating in an unmarked police car toward a small group of young Chicagoans who had gathered on the street in July.
23-year-old Miguel Medina and an unnamed teenager began to approach the car.
The state attorney alleges that the young man in the video was wearing a bag crossed across his body that contained a firearm. He was a defenseless city and had in one hand a cell phone and a bottle of wine while his other hand was empty. As City and Juvenile approached the car, Juvenile grabbed the firearm.
Before getting to the car, the teenager turns towards the camera, turns away from the policeman’s car and goes down the street.
Suddenly, the city stopped in its tracks with gunshots and collapsed down the street.
Then the two officers started shooting at the armed minor who was away from the camera. Someone is chasing the child in the street.
“COPA owns an additional video, not part of today’s release, that depicts an event firing a firearm in the direction of officers after officers unloaded their weapons as he fled the scene,” a press release issued on Tuesday said. COPA spokeswoman Jennifer Rottner.
While the surveillance video does not contain audio, other videos released by COPA today contain audio of the footage.
As the city lay on the street, cars continued to drive at the scene, and the city writhed on the ground for minutes before officers seemed to be trying to help the man.
The new video was released by an independent police watchdog that is also conducting its own investigation into the shootings. Medina, who is still recovering from his injuries, also filed a civil lawsuit.
“There is a video of the event standing in…the middle of the street shooting at the police,” Lycopolis attorney Tim Grace said in a text message on Tuesday. “Transparency means we release all of the video, not just ½ of the incident.”
Both officers had several previous misconduct complaints filed against them but none of them were substantiated, according to to the CBS branch in Chicago.
On Friday, the city said to Chicago Sun Times The city needs to do a better job of recruiting officers.
“It makes me crazy,” he told the newspaper. “I understand there are good cops out there, but there are bad cops out there as well.”