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Bail reduced to $20K for man charged with trying to kill Alsip cop with car

George Campbell speaks after a hearing for his son, Jamal, on Tuesday at the Leighton Criminal Court Building. | Matthew Hendrickson/Sun-Times

Bail was reduced on Tuesday for a 25-year-old man charged with trying to kill a suburban police office with his car during a traffic stop last week on the Far South Side.

Jamal Campbell faces a charge of attempted first-degree murder of a police officer after he allegedly tried to run over the Alsip officer early Wednesday and was shot by the officer in the parking lot of an apartment building in the Mount Greenwood neighborhood, according to the Cook County state’s attorney’s office.

At a hearing to review his bail on Tuesday, Campbell’s attorney Michael Oppenheimer said the police-involved shooting might have been racially motivated and questioned whether Chicago police were covering up for the suburban officer.

“Although this was an Alsip officer [who shot Campbell], this happened in Chicago and there is a history of cover-ups, as we saw last week,” Oppenheimer said in reference to the conviction of Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke on Friday.

Van Dyke was convicted of second-degree murder and aggravated battery for fatally shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald in 2014, but was found not guilty of official misconduct. Three other CPD officers face charges they tried to cover up for Van Dyke in a case that is ongoing.

Campbell, who has had two surgeries to treat his gunshot wounds, remained hospitalized Tuesday and did not appear at the hearing. He was also in the hospital on Friday when Judge Michael Clancy ordered him held without bail during his initial hearing. Because Campbell was not in court and had not spoken to his attorney, Clancy ordered for a review of bail within seven days.

A photo released by Alsip police shows a Cadillac sedan crashed into a Alsip police squad car following a police-involved shooting early Wednesday in the Mount Greenwood neighborhood. | Alsip police

On Tuesday, after hearing the state’s proffer and listening to Oppenheimer, Judge John F. Lyke Jr. ordered Campbell’s bail reduced to $20,000. Campbell will need to post $2,000 to be released and will be put on electronic monitoring as his case continues.

“I’ve listened to the state’s proffer and I’ve listened to mitigation,” Lyke said before announcing his ruling. “Both sides have put forth their best effort with what information they have.”

Lyke also cited Campbell’s lack of criminal history as contributing to his ruling.

“[Campbell] chose to endanger families’ lives when he chose to race in their neighborhood,” Alsip police Chief Jay Miller said in an emailed statement Tuesday. “He chose to ignore lawful police commands, and he chose to drive his vehicle at our officer. Those choices the offender made put several lives in danger that night, including his own.”

Nearly a dozen members of Campbell’s family attended his hearing Tuesday. Campbell’s father, George, said is son’s jaw was wired shut after being shot in the face and that he was still having difficulty speaking.

“He hasn’t said much about the case,” George Campbell said. “But I understand it didn’t happen the way they said it did.”

Alsip police say the officer was on patrol when he spotted a gray Dodge Charger and a Cadillac sedan street racing in the David Estates neighborhood in the suburb.

The officer pursued the Charger, but could not locate it and then went back to search for the Cadillac. The officer located a Cadillac suspected of being involved in a parking lot in the 4000 block of 115th Street in Chicago and used his squad car to block the Cadillac in, according to police.

The officer said Campbell refused to show his hands before speeding forward at the officer, who opened fire.

Police investigate a police-involved shooting about 3:30 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 3 in the 4000 block of West 115th Street. | Justin Jackson/ Sun-Times

Prosecutors said Campbell drove around the lot “pinballing” off other vehicles and came within inches of striking the officer before the officer fired shots. Alsip police said the officer was later treated for an injury to his leg. A passenger who was in the Cadillac who did follow the officers’ instructions said he did not know why Campbell drove at the officer, prosecutors said.

Oppenheimer said the state’s description of the events “make no sense” and that Campbell had crouched down the car because officers “had pulled their guns immediately.”

Oppenheimer said Campbell went to the University of Kentucky for three years on an academic scholarship and had only one prior conviction — a misdemeanor for which he got probation. He said Campbell wasn’t charged with street racing and that the officer had no reason to believe he had drugs or guns in the Cadillac when they conducted the stop.

“This police officer was trigger-happy,” Oppenheimer said.

Following the hearing, Oppenheimer followed up on that statement, saying the officer was so quick to pull a gun “probably for racial reasons.”

Oppenheimer said he has filed a motion for Alsip police to release video evidence in connection with the shooting. Prosecutors have said the officer’s dash camera and a security camera in the parking lot recorded the incident.

The shooting is being investigated by Chicago police and Alsip police have requested Illinois State Police investigate the officer’s use of force.

Despite the bail reduction, Campbell still won’t be free to go even after posting bond.

Campbell is being held without bail on an arrest warrant for failing to appear on a felony narcotics charge in Indiana, according to authorities. He will continue to be held on without bail until he can be extradited to Indiana for a hearing on that charge.

“We expected to address [the narcotics] charge as soon as possible so [Campbell] can go home,” Oppenheimer said. “My understanding is it’s related to weed or a pill, or something like that. It’s small.”