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Judge rules out special prosecutor probe of man killed by former cop

Flint Farmer, who left behind a 2-year-old daughter. Family photo

There will be no special prosecutor assigned to investigate the deadly shooting of Flint Farmer by former Chicago Police Officer Gildardo Sierra, Cook County’s chief criminal judge ruled Tuesday.

Former State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez and her successor, Kim Foxx, as well as federal prosecutors all declined to bring criminal charges against Sierra in connection with the 2011 on-duty shooting that claimed Farmer’s life, Judge LeRoy Martin Jr. said at a hearing at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse.

A request from Farmer’s father to have a special prosecutor take yet another look hadn’t offered a compelling reason why the case deserved yet another look, Martin said.

“I’ve had three different prosecutorial authorities decide, for whatever their reasons were (not to prosecute Sierra),” Martin said.

Gildardo Sierra when he was with the Chicago Heights Park District police department.

Farmer’s father, Emmett, said he had high hopes that Sierra might yet face criminal charges when he filed the request, citing Foxx’s reform platform on the campaign trail that special prosecutors were necessary in cases where police were accused of misconduct.

Tuesday, he said he hoped to appeal Martin’s ruling, but was not clear on how the case might proceed.

The Independent Police Review Authority, the city’s police disciplinary agency that had been revamped in the fallout of the Laquan McDonald shooting, last year announced it had reviewed the original probe of the shooting— which had cleared Sierra of wrongdoing— and ruled that the shooting was unjustified.

The city in 2013 settled a lawsuit filed by Farmer’s family for $4.1 million.

Sierra admitted to downing several beers before starting his shift the night he shot Farmer, and had claimed he thought the unarmed Farmer’s cellphone was a gun.

Sierra fired 16 times at Farmer, including three shots that came as the 29-year-old lay unmoving on a parkway.

Farmer’s shooting in June of 2011 was the third time Sierra had opened fire on someone while on duty in a six-month span, having shot and killed Darius Pinex that January, and wounded a 19-year-old man that March.