On the evening of August 20th, Illinois State Police were involved in a shooting in the South Loop in Chicago following a car chase. A fifteen-year old young man was shot in the neck by an Illinois State Trooper. He survived, was taken into custody after a foot chase, and is now facing numerous charges.
Driving away from police is not an ‘armed confrontation,’ and the hyper-militarized response to this incident had dangerous implications for both the young man suspected of car theft, and residents and passersby in the surrounding neighborhoods of Chinatown, and the South Loop.
Police shot at the car while it was driving away, in a populated area, where bystanders were present. A witness has said that police were shooting at the car as it was driving away around Cermak/22nd St. Shooting into or at a car is against CPD protocol and reckless for the surrounding bystanders/community, and reminds us of the recent shooting and police murder of Paul O’Neal in South Shore. This is a dangerous, reckless trend that cannot continue.
According to police scanners, the driver was assumed ‘armed and dangerous,’ even though no shots had been fired and there was no evidence of a weapon in published reports. Later that night a gun was recovered at 18th and Indiana, but the young man was shot at 11th and Wabash - over a mile away. He was presumed armed and dangerous at the time of that shooting, as mentioned in police scanners repeatedly. Whether or not he was actually in possession of a gun remains unknown, but he suffered a near-fatal gun wound regardless.
In addition to the shooting, there was a major escalation in this incident on the part of law enforcement. The strong police responses included the deployment of SWAT teams and K-9 units in the man-hunt for the young person who had been shot by the Illinois State Trooper, and was bleeding profusely. According to police scanners, he was leaving a trail of blood on the sidewalk and on building doors in the area. CPD also shut down CTA trains during the time of their search, impacting transit for Chicago residents during weekend high-traffic commute time. But there was no mention of emergency medical transport being called to ensure he received care that he needed to survive. Eventually he was taken to Stroger Hospital for emergency care, but just three days later was moved to the Cook County Juvenile Detention Facility, where he currently faces charges of aggravated assault to a police officer, aggravated fleeing and eluding a police officer, and aggravated criminal possession of a motor vehicle.
There is no mention of repercussions for the State troopers involved in this near-fatal shooting of a minor, no explanation of why Illinois State Police are shooting at and around Chicago residents, and no apology for the over-militarized response that inconvenienced residents and commuters and put them in danger.
- The People's Response Team