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CPD officers in Grand Red Line shooting stripped of police powers

“As a result of the superintendent’s review of the incident, both of the involved officers have been relieved of their police powers pending the outcome of the external reviews into this matter,” a CPD spokesman said Wednesday.

A man was shot by a CPD Mass Transit officer last Friday at the Grand Red Line station.
A man was shot by a CPD Mass Transit officer last Friday at the Grand Red Line station.
Provided

The two Chicago Police officers involved in a shooting at the CTA’s Grand Red Line station last week have been stripped of their police powers as various agencies — including the Cook County state’s attorney’s office — investigate the use of deadly force.

Interim CPD Supt. Charlie Beck stripped the officers just hours after the Civilian Office of Police Accountability — the agency that investigates uses of force by CPD officers — recommended he do so.

“As a result of the superintendent’s review of the incident, both of the involved officers have been relieved of their police powers pending the outcome of the external reviews into this matter,” CPD spokesman Tom Ahern said Wednesday.

Earlier in the day, Sydney Roberts, COPA’s chief, said: “Due to the serious nature of both officers’ actions, I felt it was necessary to recommend the officers involved be relieved of police powers while we continue to investigate this incident.”

Gloria Schmidt Rodriguez, the attorney representing the man who was shot, was pleased with COPA’s recommendation and Beck’s subsequent decision, though she still called for both officers to be fired.

“We hope that the Police Board and Interim Supt. Charles Beck will act swiftly to facilitate the firing of these rogue officers as they clearly are not fit for duty as Chicago Police officers,” Schmidt Rodriguez said in an emailed statement.

Shortly after 4 p.m. Friday, two officers assigned to the CPD’s Mass Transit Unit saw a man passing between cars on a Red Line train.

The officers and the man — who was unarmed — got off the train at the Grand station in River North. In a widely circulated video taken by a passerby, the two officers can be seen struggling to arrest the man, who was trying to free himself and ignoring their commands to stop resisting.

Two deployed stun guns could be seen on the floor, and a female officer could be seen using pepper spray on the man while her partner tries to restrain him. Her partner, a male officer, repeatedly tells her to “shoot him.”

After the man wriggled free and stood up, the female officer fired a shot. The man ran up a set of stairs and the female officer fired again. He was hospitalized with gunshot wounds to his hip and buttocks.

Schmidt Rodriguez said Wednesday that he has been released from Northwestern Memorial Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit and is now in a standard hospital room, though “he faces a long recovery period ahead as medical costs continue to rise and he is unable to return to work as a cook.”

Though it took police several hours longer than normal to issue a statement on the shooting, the department took the rare step of announcing it was consulting with the Cook County state’s attorney’s office “due to the potential criminal nature of this incident.”

The man who was shot was initially charged with resisting arrest, possession of a controlled substance, manufacturing/delivery of cannabis, as well as unsafe passage between CTA train cars. At Beck’s request, the state’s attorney’s office dropped the charges.

“Given the totality of circumstances and the department’s significant level of concern around this incident, it would be insensitive to advocate for these charges,” Anthony Guglielmi, the CPD’s chief spokesman, said previously.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who had tweeted her concerns about the viral video hours after the shooting, said Wednesday it was “not a surprise” that COPA had recommended stripping the two officers involved in the shooting of their police powers.

“As I said on Friday, with the caveat that a video obviously doesn’t tell you everything that happened, what I saw was concerning from the tactical issues before the shooting but the shooting itself and the circumstances that led to the use of lethal force,” Lightfoot said.

“I’ve been following it closely but I want to make sure that the COPA investigation is thorough, but expedited [and] complete.”

Roberts, the COPA chief, serves at the pleasure of the mayor. Clearly, she would not have acted without the mayor’s knowledge and, presumably, Lightfoot’s acquiescence.

Even so, when asked Wednesday if she supports COPA’s recommendation, the mayor said: “It’s not for me to say I support it or don’t support it. I’m not surprised by it under the circumstances.”

Contributing: Fran Spielman