IRVING PARK — A Chicago Police Officer is facing felony charges after he shot at two unarmed men in a parked car in December while off-duty, wounding one in the hand.
Officer Kevin Bunge is an eight-year veteran of the department who teaches use of force at the police academy, prosecutors said.
Around 10:30 p.m. Dec. 11, Bunge was off-duty when he parked his white Jeep in the 3300 block of West Irving Park Road to listen to an audio book. Two unarmed men in a red car pulled up behind him, prosecutors said.
That’s when Bunge reportedly heard gunshots, got out of his Jeep and shot at the two men in the red car, according to prosecutors. After the red car fled from him, Bunge called 911 to report the shooting.
Bunge, 39, was charged with aggravated battery with a firearm and aggravated discharge of a firearm Wednesday. He was given a $1,000 bond while he awaits trial.
Bunge was fearful of carjackings in the city, which is why he approached the red car with his badge out and gun drawn after reportedly hearing gunshots, his attorney Tim Grace said.
“He approaches the vehicle very tactically, like they taught at the academy,” Grace said. “He did all the things that a person who’s acting like a police officer is supposed to do. The question is did he misperceive the weapon? Did he act too quickly? But that’s not a crime.”
Prosecutors argue the video footage recovered from the area around where the shooting happened contradicts Bunge’s version of events.
Police Supt. David Brown stripped Bunge of his police powers shortly after the shooting. The shooting is also still under investigation by the Civilian Office for Police Accountability, which released video and other records relating to the shooting last month.
Additionally, the two men in the red car — Jomner Orozco Carreto and Carlos Ramírez — filed a federal lawsuit against Bunge and the City Of Chicago alleging Bunge got out of his Jeep to shoot at them without provocation.
In their lawsuit, the two men say they pulled up behind Bunge’s Jeep to check their GPS for directions. Orozco, who was driving, quickly put his car in reverse and sped backward down Irving Park when Bunge shot at him, according to the lawsuit.
He also called called 911 to report the shooting and spoke to officers about what happened. Orozco was treated at Swedish Hospital and arrested briefly before being released without charges, according to their attorneys.
Brad Thomson, an attorney for Orozco and Ramírez, said in his experience it’s extremely rare for police officers to be criminally charged when they shoot at people. The information presented in bond court Wednesday shows Bunge’s actions were criminal and “defied common sense,” Thomson argued.
“The fact that someone who uses deadly force in such a clearly unreasonable manner is actually teaching cadets about the use of force is shocking and reflects a deeper problem within the CPD,” Thomson said in a statement. “This case exemplifies what activists and organizers have been stating: that more training will not address the systemic problem and that any proposed solution to address police violence must include defunding CPD.”
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