Listen to this article Attempted Robbery In Chicago Turns Fatal As Off-Duty Officer Shoots Suspect Three Times Resulting In His Death.
Video Shows Off-Duty Chicago Cop Shouting “I’ll kill you” Before Fatally Shooting Man Who Grabbed For Her Gun
On January 18, 2022, an off-duty Chicago police officer fatally shot a man in the Washington Heights neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago. Private surveillance footage captured the incident, and the Civilian Office of Police Accountability released it on Thursday, March 16, 2023.
The video shows Leevon Smith arguing with a group of people in the 1300 block of West 90th Street just before 1 p.m. The off-duty officer leaves an apartment building and tries to diffuse the conflict, urging those involved to calm down. The other people take off, but Smith sticks around and talks to the officer for just over a minute. As she turns to head back into the apartment building, the video appears to show Smith reach for the officer’s handgun, setting off a struggle.
The officer’s response
During the struggle, the officer yells “I’ll kill you” before firing two shots. Smith says, “You got me. You got me,” and apologizes, saying “I don’t want to die.” The officer responds by saying “I told your dumbass I’d kill you” before firing a third shot. At no point in the video is the officer seen offering aid to the wounded man.
The officer’s statements
Before the ambulance arrives, the officer is seen walking into the building, then coming back out while on the phone. When an emergency crew pulls up, one of them asks her, “Where’d you hit him?” She responds, “I don’t know.” An arrest report shows the cop told responding officers that the shooting happened after she witnessed “a verbal argument.” She said Smith grabbed her from behind and reached for her gun “in an attempt to disarm her.” She and Smith eventually fell to the ground while struggling for the gun, the report states. The officer then opened fire, striking Smith in his abdomen and left hand.
Police took Smith into custody and transported him to Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, where he was pronounced dead on Jan. 20. A tactical response report states that Smith posed an “imminent threat of battery” without a weapon and physically attacked the officer.Additionally, she asserts that she received no warning before the ambush and fired three shots in total.
Legal and Civilian Reactions
After the shooting, Leevon Smith’s estate filed a lawsuit against the city and the officer, pushing for a judgment of $10 million. The plaintiff in the lawsuit did not name the officer who is accused of utilizing “excessive and violent physical force” and allegedly should have known that such force was not required considering the circumstances, as mentioned in the legal complaint.
Moreover, the officer faced criminal charges for the shooting, but a grand jury declined to indict her, and the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office announced that it would not pursue charges. Activists and Smith’s family criticized the decision, alleging that the grand jury process favored the police.
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