Chicago Cop Shoots Disabled Teenager at Close Range, on Video
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS — October 18, 2018
Chicago police have again been distinguished by low-quality work at the scene of a crime. This time, an officer shot an unarmed handicapped teenager several times.
Video from surveillance cameras was transferred to the Civilian Office of Police Accountability and released Wednesday night.
According to the police report, Sergeant Khalil Muhammad explained that he believed he was in danger and that the teenager was armed, though a weapon was never recovered.
The violent encounter occurred in front of a home near 111th Street and Hermosa Avenue on August 13, 2017. Then-18-year-old Ricardo Hayes, an African American, had been running and skipping in the neighborhood and then stopped in front of the home.
The video shows Muhammad pulling up in his personal pickup truck. After a few seconds, Hayes can be seen slowly moving towards Muhammad. The sergeant opened fire on Hayes, wounding him in the chest and arm.
Muhammad called 911, with Hayes heard screaming in the background.
"I'm behind Morgan Park High School," Muhammad says on the 911 call recording. "I'm a (inaudible) sergeant of police. I need an ambulance right now."
"What happened?" the operator asks.
"The guy pulled like he was about to pull a gun on me, walked up to the car, and I had to shoot," Muhammad answers.
Hayes survived the shooting and has now filed a lawsuit. Hayes' attorney, Gabriel Hardy, said his client has developmental disabilities and problems communicating.
"Ricky wasn't doing anything wrong," Hardy said. "He wasn't breaking any laws. He wasn't armed. He didn't initiate contact with this officer."
He said the shooting was not justified.
Muhammad has been on paid administrative leave since the incident.
The Illinois American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) strongly condemned the policeman’s actions and is calling for more officer training on how to deal with people with disabilities.
The investigation is ongoing. It is possible that the officer will have to face serious charges.
It is worth noting once again that the racial issue also remains at a high level in Chicago, and that the race of the shooter and victim in such cases can affect the court’s decision.