CHICAGO — The lawyers representing two Chicago police officers who shot and wounded two people are fighting for surveillance video of the shooting to be kept under wraps.
The officers — Sgt. Christopher Liakopoulos and officer Ruben Reynoso — have been charged with aggravated battery with a firearm, aggravated discharge of a firearm and official misconduct, prosecutors said Friday. They’ve been relieved of their police duties and are being investigated by the Civilian Office of Police Accountability, a police watchdog.
On July 22 in Pilsen, the officers shot and wounded a 23-year-old man in an “unprovoked act of violence,” and another person was grazed by a bullet, State’s Attorney Kim Foxx said at a Friday news conference. The officers told authorities they’d been shot at first — but videotape of the incident directly contradicts that and neither of the wounded people fired shots at the officers, Foxx said.
Prosecutors in court said the 23-year-old man and a minor approached their car, with the minor holding a gun. The 23-year-old man was holding a bottle of wine and a cell phone in one hand and his other hand was empty, prosecutors said.
Attorneys for the officers, speaking at their bond court hearing Friday, said video of the shooting should be kept out of the public eye for the time being. They argued it shows only one side of the story and would be unfair to release it. There is no police bodycam footage because the officers, part of the Major Accidents Investigation Unit, were on their way to training at the police academy.
The Civilian Office of Police Accountability is set to release the video Monday or Tuesday, the officers’ lawyers said. They asked the judge to block its release — leading to a back-and-forth between the judge and attorneys.
The police watchdog is only planning to release a portion of the video and it could prejudice a jury pool, the attorneys said. Prosecutors said they had no opinion on the matter.
Judge Maryam Ahmad told the attorneys she would not discuss blocking the video at bond court, saying they’d need to pursue that action separately.
The lawyers said it might be too late, as the video could be released before they can set up a hearing to try to block the video. But Ahmad continued to tell them they’d have to seek another hearing.
A representative for the Civilian Office of Police Accountability said the investigation into the officers’ conduct is ongoing, but the agency could not otherwise comment.
The agency has 60 days after an incident to release video — which would mean it has until Thursday to release the video from the July 22 shooting.
Ahmad set the officers’ bail at $25,000 each and said they must surrender their guns and their Firearm Owners Identification Card while on bail. Their next court date is Sept. 23, where they’ll discuss blocking the release of the video, according to the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office.