Two Chicago police officers charged with beating teen during January arrest in Woodlawn

They are accused of beating the 17-year-old boy after he allegedly crashed a stolen vehicle into their patrol car and then pointed a gun at them.

SHARE Two Chicago police officers charged with beating teen during January arrest in Woodlawn
A Chicago Police Department officer.

Sun-Times file

Two Chicago police officers were released on their own recognizance Wednesday after being charged with beating a 17-year-old boy they said crashed into their unmarked squad car and pointed a gun at them during a pursuit on the South Side.

Officers Jeffery Shafer and Victor Guebara face aggravated battery and official misconduct charges stemming from the Jan. 10 arrest following an investigation by the Cook County state’s attorney’s office and the police department’s Bureau of Internal Affairs.

If convicted, the officers could face probation, or a two to five year prison sentence for each count.

Two other police officers also face disciplinary charges in connection to the case for either failing to intervene or not activating their body-worn camera during the boy’s arrest in Woodlawn, a source said.

Shafer, 35, and Guebara, 40, were on patrol in full uniform that afternoon when they spotted the teen driving a white Chevrolet Camaro that had been reported stolen and chased it, prosecutors said.

The boy drove onto a sidewalk and eventually struck the officers’ vehicle as the officers pulled up next to him, prosecutors said. The crash didn’t cause either vehicles’ air bags to deploy. The boy later crashed into a garage in the 6400 block of South Cottage Grove Avenue, prosecutors said.

The boy then complied to an assisting officer’s orders to stop and show his hands, prosecutors said. When the officer tried to handcuff the boy, Shafer and Guebara arrived in their car.

Guebara walked up to the boy and punched him in the face while the teen was lying face-down with one hand behind his back, prosecutors said. Shafer then straddled the boy and allegedly punched him four times in the head and pushed the boy’s face into the concrete.

Schafer made the boy stand up and pushed him into a metal fence, causing a cut to the teen’s head, prosecutors said.

Neither Guebara nor Shafer activated their body cameras during the arrest, but their actions were captured by a nearby police POD surveillance camera and the assisting officer’s body camera, prosecutors said.

The officers’ attorneys said the boy had previously pointed a gun at them during the pursuit and that the “T-bone” crash had injured Shafer so badly he needed surgery and will require additional medical treatment.

The officers hadn’t mentioned on the police radio that the boy had pointed a gun at them, or to other officers until after a gun was recovered inside the Camaro’s glove box during the arrest, prosecutors said.

The boy was charged with battery and weapons offenses in juvenile court, but those charges were dropped in June, prosecutors said.

Shafer and Guebara were arrested Tuesday night, but had been relieved of their police powers in January, Chicago police said in a statement.

Judge John F. Lyke on Wednesday denied prosecutors’ request for Shafer and Guebara to turn over their Firearm Owners Identification cards and any firearms in their possession, saying state police and CPD could decide whether that was necessary.

The judge ordered both officers to have no contact with the teen while their case is pending.

Defense attorneys told Lyke their clients were decorated Army combat veterans and had received many commendations since they each joined the department in 2014.

Shafer had been deployed to Afghanistan after graduating high school and was wounded while riding in a vehicle that struck an improvised explosive device, his attorney Tim Grace said. Shafer received an award for valor during his overseas service.

Guebara served in Iraq, where he was shot in the leg during a gun battle and received a Purple Heart, and later in Afghanistan, where he received a Bronze Star, his attorney Brian Sexton said.

Lyke noted the officers’ military service, saying both men had “served honorably” and appeared to be “exemplary citizens.”

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