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Officer who lied about fatal police shooting should be fired: COPA

“The only rational motivation for Officer (Saharat) Sampim’s choice to make false statements was to help his partner officers by providing a statement consistent with theirs,” COPA wrote.

Roshad McIntosh’s casket being carried out of his funeral in September 2014.
Roshad McIntosh’s casket being carried out of his funeral in September 2014.
Sun-Times file

The agency that investigates Chicago Police officers’ use of force has recommended an officer be fired for lying about what he saw in the moments before a fatal 2014 shooting on the West Side.

The Civilian Office of Police Accountability has called for the firing of Officer Samarat Sampim after Sampim testified he saw Roshad McIntosh point a gun at Officer Robert Slechter.

COPA concluded Sampim could not see what he claimed to given where he was standing when the shooting happened.

“All the statements Officer Sampim made about observing McIntosh raise a handgun are false,” COPA wrote in its report. “The only rational motivation for Officer Sampim’s choice to make false statements was to help his partner officers by providing a statement consistent with theirs.”

“That Officer Sampim was able to provide an account in lockstep with two other witnesses raises serious questions about witness tampering,” COPA added.

COPA’s recommendation Sampim be terminated — which, COPA said, is echoed by the CPD — was first reported by the Chicago Tribune.

“Based on the objective video evidence, we always knew that the CPD officers gave false statements in the official police reports and interviews,” Andrew M. Stroth, an attorney for McIntosh’s mother, said in a statement. “Cynthia Lane, Roshad McIntosh’s mother, is grateful for the work of the Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA) and their efforts to hold Officer Sampim accountable for his false statements and complicity in the fatal shooting of Roshad.”

Despite recommending Sampim be fired, COPA has twice concluded the shooting of McIntosh was justified. The 19-year-old was shot and killed by Slechter on Aug. 24, 2014, in the 2800 block of West Polk Street after — police and COPA both say — he pointed a handgun at an officer.

Officers were called to the block after receiving a tip two men there were armed with guns. Once there, officers found the block crowded with dozens of people. Only one person, McIntosh, ran away when they arrived.

An officer gave chase and said he saw McIntosh grabbing his waistband with his right hand — a common sign that someone is carrying a gun.

COPA said the officer who fired said he ordered McIntosh to drop the gun several times — a claim corroborated by several police and civilian witnesses.