Chicago officer sued in 2013 fatal shooting was at a second one in 2014
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A Chicago Police officer sued in the 2013 fatal shooting of 17-year-old Christian Green was on the scene when his partner killed another man in 2014 — raising questions about their fitness as cops, according to a lawyer for Green’s family.
Officer Robert Gonzalez fired 11 times and shot Christian Green once in the back at 1 p.m. on July 4 in the 5600 block of South State. Green had pointed a gun at Gonzalez, who fired in self-defense, investigators said. But a lawsuit says the teenager was unarmed when he was shot.
Gonzalez’ partner George Hernandez was on the scene when Green was killed. The next year, Gonzalez was on the scene when Hernandez fatally shot 25-year-old Ronald Johnson III. A wrongful death lawsuit is also pending in that Oct. 13, 2014 shooting. Police and prosecutors say Johnson was armed before he was shot.
Attorney Victor Henderson, an attorney for the Green family, said the fact that two partners were involved in two fatal shootings in a 15-month period raises questions about whether they should be on the street. Henderson sued Gonzalez and the city in late November.
“We have sincere concerns that there was improper activity and a cover-up,” Henderson said.
He noted that Gonzalez was once on a team supervised by Sgt. Ronald Watts, who was sentenced in 2013 to 22 months in federal prison for corruption.
According to the Independent Police Review Authority, Green was standing near Carter School of Excellence at 5740 S. Michigan and ran when police approached. Officers said he tried to toss a weapon, picked it up again, ran into a vacant lot, turned and pointed the weapon at officers.
Henderson acknowledges police chased the teen because he had a gun. Henderson said Green tried to throw the gun into a garbage can. The gun didn’t go into the bin and Green picked it up again, but dropped the gun before he was shot, Henderson said.
The lawsuit alleges Green was unarmed. A witness saw the shooting and did not see a gun in his hands or near his body after the shooting, the lawsuit said.
Henderson said one similarity between the Green and Laquan McDonald cases is that the initial police reports differ from what the evidence later showed.
A police report said Green was shot in the chest, but the autopsy showed he was shot in the back, Henderson said. “Clearly there was a cover-up because they said he was shot in the chest,” he said.
McDonald — who officers were following in October 2014 because he was walking on a street with a knife — was shot 16 times by Officer Jason Van Dyke.
The officers’ accounts in the police reports in the McDonald shooting differed from what was shown on a dash-cam video released in November. Van Dyke was charged last month with murder in the shooting.
A video of the Johnson shooting was made public last month. In the Johnson video, Hernandez jumped out of a car, chased Johnson and fired at his back as Johnson ran out of the camera’s view and collapsed.
Prosecutors declined to charge Hernandez with a crime. Evidence showed Johnson was carrying a gun when he was shot, prosecutors said.
In court papers, the city has defended the Green and Johnson shootings as being justified.