Surveillance video was released on Tuesday which showed the jarring moment two Chicago police officers gunned down an unarmed man in the street in July—and left him writhing on the street for minutes as cars drove past.
The video, released by the Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA), was cited on Friday as direct evidence used to charge Chicago police officers Chistopher Liakopoulos and Ruben Reynoso in the shooting—a rare occurrence in a city with a long history of police violence.
Cook County State Attorney Kimberly Foxx said the video directly contradicted statements by officers after the shooting took place, when they claimed they were fired upon first.
“We cannot ignore or stand by acts of unprovoked violence, even at the hands of those who are sworn to serve and protect our communities,” said Foxx last week.
The cops, Liakopoulos and Reynoso, were charged with three counts of aggravated battery with a firearm, aggravated discharge of a firearm, and official misconduct—namely, that the officers lied about being fired on first.
Both posted bail on Friday, which was set for 25,000 dollars each. The two cops were also ordered by judge Maryam Ahmad to turn in their weapons.
Reynoso’s lawyer, Brian Sexton, did not immediately respond to requests for comment but in Friday’s bail hearing, protested the release of the video, which he claimed would be incomplete. The judge denied his request to block its release.
That sentiment was echoed by Sgt Liakopoulis’ lawyer, Tim Grace, who called the release of footage an “unfair process that calls into question COPA’s impartiality and bias,” in a text message to the Daily Beast on Tuesday evening.
The surveillance video shows the two cops slowly backing up in an unmarked police vehicle towards a small group of young Chicagoans gathered on the street in July.
23-year-old Miguel Medina and an unnamed teen begin to approach the vehicle.
The state attorney claims that in the video, the juvenile wore a satchel crisscrossed across his body which contained a firearm. Medina was unarmed and held a cell phone and wine bottle in one hand, while his other hand was empty. As Medina and the juvenile approached the vehicle, the juvenile held onto the firearm.
Before reaching the car, the teen turns toward the direction of the camera, bolting away from the cop car and down the street.
Suddenly, Medina is stopped in his tracks by gunfire and crumples to the street.
Both officers then start firing towards the direction of the armed minor, who is off-camera. One chases the kid down the street.
“COPA is in possession of an additional video, not a part of today’s release, that captures a juvenile discharging a firearm in the direction of the officers after officers have discharged their weapons and he is fleeing the scene,” said a press release Tuesday by COPA spokesperson Jennifer Rottner.
While the surveillance video does not have sound, other videos also released by COPA today do contain audio of the shots.
As Medina lay in the street, cars continued to drive through the scene and Medina writhes on the ground for minutes before officers seem to attempt to aid the man.
The new video was released by the independent cop watchdog organization which is also doing its own investigation into the shooting. Medina, who is still recovering from his wounds, has also filed a civil suit.
“There is a video of the juvenile standing in the … middle of the street firing at the police,” Liakopoulis’ attorney Tim Grace said by text message on Tuesday. “Transparency means we release all the video, not just ½ the incident.”
Both cops have had multiple prior misconduct complaints filed against them but none were substantiated, according to Chicago’s CBS affiliate.
On Friday, Medina told the Chicago Sun Times that the city needed to do a better job of hiring officers.
“It makes me feel mad,” he told the paper. “I understand there’s good cops out there, but there’s bad cops out there, too.”