CPD officer faces firing more than three years after fatally shooting 17-year-old boy
Chicago Police Supt. David Brown unsuccessfully pushed for a 10-day suspension for Officer Adolfo Bolanos, who shot 17-year-old Michael Elam Jr. three times in February 2019.
The Chicago police officer who fatally shot 17-year-old Michael Elam Jr. now faces dismissal more than three years after the encounter.
On Feb. 16, 2019, Elam and three others ran from a car that crashed into a fence near 21st Place and Keeler Avenue as police pursued it for a traffic violation, authorities have said. Officer Adolfo Bolanos then opened fire, striking Elam three times in the head and back.
Two guns were recovered at the scene, but attorneys representing Elam’s family have said he was unarmed.
Andrea Kersten, chief administrator of the Civilian Office of Police Accountability, recommended Bolanos be terminated for shooting Elam and failing to turn on his body-worn camera, failing to immediately notify dispatchers of the shooting and not rendering emergency aid.
Chicago Police Supt. David Brown argued the allegation directly related to the shooting shouldn’t be sustained as he pushed for a 10-day suspension for Bolanos.
On Thursday, Chicago Police Board President Ghian Foreman sided with Kersten and moved to set off disciplinary proceedings in the case.
Foreman also recommended that a second officer involved in the incident, Guillermo Gama Jr., be suspended for 30 days, agreeing again with Kersten’s recommendation. Gama faces an allegation of failing to immediately request aid for Elam.
Although Brown agreed the allegation should be sustained, he unsuccessfully sought the same 10-day suspension for Gama.
Attorneys for the two officers couldn’t immediately be reached.
Four months after the shooting, Elam’s mother held a news conference to announce a wrongful death lawsuit that now names Bolanos, Gama and the city as co-defendants. The suit claims police used excessive force and waited more than five minutes to call an ambulance after Elam was shot.
His mother, Alice Martin, noted that he was just short of graduating from West Town Academy when he was killed.
“We’re just looking for answers,” she said in 2019. “We want justice for my son.”