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CPD sergeant who shot unarmed autistic man suspended for 6 months

Sgt. Khalil Muhammad shot Ricardo “Ricky” Hayes on Aug. 13, 2017 in the 10900 block of South Hermosa, just a few hours after Hayes’ caretaker had reported him missing.

The Chicago Police sergeant who shot an unarmed, developmentally disabled man on the Far South Side has been suspended from work for six months.

The Chicago Police Board voted 7-2 to suspend Sgt. Khalil Muhammad for 180 days at Thursday evening’s meeting.

Muhammad shot Ricardo “Ricky” Hayes on Aug. 13, 2017 in the 10900 block of South Hermosa, just a few hours after Hayes’ caretaker had reported him missing.

In 2018, the Civilian Office of Police Accountability found Muhammad was not justified when he fired the shots and recommended that Muhammad be suspended for six months.

The police department agreed and filed administrative charges against the sergeant, accusing him of disobedience of an order or directive; unlawful or unnecessary use or display of a weapon; failure to promote the police department’s efforts to implement its policy or accomplish its goals; and engaging in conduct that impedes the department’s efforts to achieve its policy and goals or brings discredit upon the department.

Read the charges against Muhammad.

Gabriel Hardy, one of Hayes’ attorneys, said Thursday the decision to suspend Muhammad for six months was “very disappointing but, unfortunately, sadly, not surprising.”

“You would think any logical review of this case would lead to a termination of a police officer,” Hardy said. “As far as our case [goes], we just keep moving forward and we’ll see where that takes us.”

According to a lawsuit filed last year on behalf of Hayes, Muhammad was off-duty at the time and in his personal vehicle when he saw Hayes running and skipping down the street.

That lawsuit states that Hayes, 18, “functions at the cognitive level of a child, and he has difficulty communicating. Ricky looks much younger than his age, and his disabilities are immediately recognizable.”

Muhammad’s gunfire struck Hayes in the chest and arm, the suit stated. Muhammad eventually caught up with Hayes, who is autistic and suffers from schizophrenia, and ordered him to the ground and called an ambulance, the suit states.

Security footage from a nearby home released last year shows Hayes running down the sidewalk before stopping near 10947 S. Hermosa. As he stops, Muhammad parks his vehicle in the middle of the street.

No exchange of words can be heard on the video. Hayes can be seen taking four steps onto a parkway and toward Muhammad’s vehicle — but not into the street — before Muhammad opens fire, less than four seconds after he stopped his car. Two gunshots can be heard echoing down the block.

Hayes can then be seen running off. Muhammad exits his car to look for him, but returns to the SUV a short time later and drives off.