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Top cop recommends firing Chicago police officer who fatally shot apparently unarmed man in 2018

Maurice Granton Jr., 24, was fatally shot as he tried to jump over a fence in a vacant lot during a 2018 foot chase with police in the Bronzeville neighborhood.

Chicago police Supt. David Brown.
Chicago police Supt. David Brown.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times file

Chicago’s top cop has moved to fire an officer who fatally shot an apparently unarmed man during a 2018 foot chase on the South Side.

Officer Sheldon Thrasher used unnecessary force when he shot and killed Maurice Granton Jr. in Bronzeville, according to the recommendation Supt. David Brown submitted to the Chicago Police Board on Friday.

An evidentiary hearing will be held in the case before the officer’s fate is ultimately decided by the seven-member police board.

Thrasher shot Granton, 24, in the back on June 6, 2018 as he tried to jump over a fence in a vacant lot during a foot chase with police in the 4700 block of South Prairie Avenue.

Police body-cam video of the shooting appeared to show Granton without a gun as he grabbed the fence with both hands, the Sun-Times previously reported.

As Granton laid on the ground bleeding, onlookers gathered and began yelling at police.

“You see your homie right there? You see your homie shot . . . Get back, get back,” Thrasher allegedly told people in the crowd, according to police records.

Brown found that Thrasher violated police rules that prohibit “engaging in an unjustified verbal or physical altercation with any person” and “incompetency or inefficiency in the performance of duty,” the documents show.

Thrasher’s use of force “was not necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm from an imminent threat posed to him or another person,” Brown wrote.

The superintendent also said Thrasher didn’t activate his body-worn camera in a “timely manner.”

Granton’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit a month after the shooting, alleging Granton didn’t pose an imminent threat to police and disputing a police statement that an “armed confrontation” led to the shooting.

Antonio Romanucci, a lawyer for the Granton family, said he agreed with Brown’s recommendation.

“The legal team representing the estate of Maurice Granton, Jr. has long believed that Officer Thrasher should have his badge taken away for this completely unnecessary shooting death,” Romanucci said in a statement. “The officer’s decision making that evening had tragic consequences and we will press for justice in the upcoming civil case so there can be accountability for this family that continues to grieve three years after that heartbreaking night.”