The Chicago Police Department is seeking a six-month suspension for the sergeant who shot an unarmed, developmentally disabled man in August 2017.
The Civilian Office of Police Accountability — which investigates use of force by CPD officers — found that Sgt. Khalil Muhammad was not justified when he shot Ricardo “Ricky” Hayes on Aug. 13, 2017, in the 10900 block of South Hermosa.
After COPA closed its investigation in September 2018 — where the agency ruled the shooting was not justified — it recommended that the CPD move to suspend Muhammad for 90 days, records show.
However, after the department also found that the shooting by Muhammad was not justified, the department opted to push for a 180-day suspension against Muhammad, although no administrative charges have been filed against the officer. COPA said in a statement Monday it can support the longer suspension because Muhammad has “supervisory status as a sergeant.”
An attorney for the young man’s caregiver blasted the recommended discipline, questioning why Muhammad is still a cop at all.
“I can’t believe he’s still a police officer, and he hasn’t been charged criminally,” attorney Gabriel Hardy said Monday. “Even though they found that this wasn’t a proper shooting, all you get is a slap on the wrist.”
CPD Supt. Eddie Johnson submitted his recommendation to the city’s corporation counsel in December 2018, though no formal charges against Muhammad have been sent to the Chicago Police Board — the civilian body that metes out discipline against officers.
COPA noted “Sergeant Muhammad had no reasonable basis to believe that [Hayes] was armed or dangerous” before he fired two shots at him.
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, who was off-duty and driving an SUV, 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.
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.
Just a few hours earlier, Hayes’ caretaker had reported him missing.
Last week, another CPD sergeant sued the department alleging that he was reassigned — at the direction of department brass — after refusing to classify Muhammad as a victim in the shooting.