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IPRA: 3 cops involved in unjustified shootings should be fired

The Independent Police Review Authority has recommended that three police officers it deemed were involved in unjustified shootings should be fired.

IPRA spokeswoman Mia Sissac said Tuesday that the recommendation was passed to Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson last week. Johnson has 90 days to either agree with IPRA’s recommendation or suggest other discipline.

“We are reviewing IPRA’S findings and conferring with them on the cases,” CPD spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said in an email Tuesday night.

The matter will ultimately fall in the hands of the Chicago Police Board.

The officers were involved in two separate cases in which shots were fired into vehicles. In both cases, IPRA ruled the officers were not in danger when they fired their weapons.

In one case, Antwon Golatte, 37, of Roseland, was shot in the side when, in February 2015, he tried to drive away from officers who tried to stop him after they said they saw him make a drug buy in Roseland. They said Golatte refused to get out of his SUV and backed into an unmarked squad car as he tried to get away.

Antwon Golatte shows reporters his bullet wounds on Monday. | Maudlyne Ihejirika/Sun-Times
Antwon Golatte shows reporters his bullet wounds on Monday. | Maudlyne Ihejirika/Sun-Times

Two CPD officers opened fire on Golatte’s car, striking him in the abdomen.

Bullet trajectories showed nearly all the shots were fired from angles that indicate Golatte was driving away from officers, who were a safe distance from the SUV as it pulled away, according to an IPRA report.

On Monday, after IPRA ruled the shootings unjustified, attorneys for Golatte held a news conference calling for the city to settle or expect a civil lawsuit.

Golatte was charged with aggravated assault with a motor vehicle, and charges are still pending.

The other police shooting resulted in the death of 27-year-old Ryan Rogers.

An officer shot Rogers in March 2013 in south suburban Hazel Crest as police were conducting surveillance of him. At the time, police said Rogers allegedly slammed his SUV into one of their cars while making a getaway, and an officer feared for his life.

Rogers’ family already has settled with the city for $1 million.

The two officers involved in Golatte’s shooting remain on full duty, Chicago Police said. According to Golatte’s civil rights attorney, L. Chris Stewart, those officers are Harry Matheos and Jaime Gaeta, and both have 34 citizen complaints between them.

The IPRA rulings of “unjustified” mark a tectonic shift for the agency, which was long criticized for being a rubber stamp of approval when police officers shoot a person.

In the past two months, the police oversight group has decided more police shootings were unwarranted than it had in its previous previous nine years of existence.

Contributing: Maudlyne Ihejirika