Newly released video footage shows a grainy view of an off-duty Chicago police officer shooting an unarmed autistic man on the Far South Side last year.
The Civilian Office of Police Accountability released seven videos and four audio files related to the shooting of then-18-year-old Ricardo “Ricky” Hayes by CPD Sgt. Khalil Muhammad around 5 a.m. on Aug. 13, 2017 in the 10900 block of South Hermosa.
Security footage from a nearby home shows Hayes running down the sidewalk before stopping near 10947 S. Hermosa. As he stops, Muhammad, who was driving an SUV, parks his vehicle in the middle of the street.
No exchange of words can be heard on the video. Hayes can be seen taking four steps onto a parkway and toward Muhammad’s vehicle — but not into the street — before Muhammad opens fire, less than four seconds after he stopped his car. Two gunshots can be heard echoing down the block.
Hayes can then be seen running off. Muhammad exits his car to look for him, but returns to the SUV a short time later and drives off.
Property records show that Muhammad owns property near the scene of the shooting.
Hayes did not suffer life-threatening injuries from the shooting. He was treated and released from Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn.
The videos were initially withheld because Hayes — who also suffers from schizophrenia — was considered a minor at the time of the shooting due to his mental capacity.
A police statement initially said the two got into an “armed confrontation.” Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson later said no weapon was recovered from Hayes.
According to a lawsuit filed earlier this year on behalf of Hayes, Muhammad was off-duty at the time and in his personal vehicle when he saw Hayes running and skipping down the street.
Just a few hours earlier, Hayes’ caretaker had reported him missing.
The lawsuit states that Hayes “functions at the cognitive level of a child, and he has difficulty communicating. Ricky looks much younger than his age and his disabilities are immediately recognizable.”
Muhammad’s gunfire struck Hayes in the chest and arm, the suit stated. Muhammad eventually caught up with Hayes and ordered him to the ground and called an ambulance, the suit states.
The sergeant’s call to 911 was among the audio files released.
“The guy, like, he was about to pull a gun. Walked up to the car, and I had to shoot,” Muhammad told a Chicago Fire Department dispatcher.
Addressing reporters two days after the shooting, Johnson said Hayes was “elusive and unresponsive” when Muhammad tried to question him.
Muhammad was stripped of his police powers shortly after the shooting. CPD spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said Tuesday that Muhammad was on administrative leave pending the outcome of the COPA investigation.
Officers involved in shootings are automatically put on desk duty for 30 days under CPD policy, but the Independent Police Review Authority — COPA’s predecessor — recommended that the sergeant be taken off the streets for the duration of their investigation.
No criminal charges were ever brought against Muhammad in connection with the shooting.
Police disciplinary records show that Muhammad — who was hired by the CPD in 2000 — has been the subject of eight misconduct complaints. One of those, an operations/personnel violation in 2000, netted him a two-day suspension.