After nearly a decade of insisting that Michael LaPorta shot himself with a police officer’s service revolver, they are now asking for the man’s help bringing the police officer to justice. LaPorta, who can no longer walk, read, or care for himself, is cared for by his mother. Nonetheless, the city is hoping to subpoena his testimony for the upcoming disciplinary hearing that may allow them to remove the officer from the force.
LaPorta’s mother reported being “floored” by the request. After decades of insisting LaPorta had fired the shot that changed his life into his own head, they are seeking to compel LaPorta to provide testimony. The quality of that testimony and its necessity for this disciplinary hearing is unclear.
LaPorta and Officer Patrick Kelly were childhood friends and were out drinking one night when LaPorta ended up with a bullet in his head. Kelly and the police officers’ union said this was a botched suicide attempt, but the suspicion was that the gun went off while the two were drinking. Since it was a service revolver that harmed LaPorta, Kelly could easily lose his job over the incident, but it is unclear that criminal charges are warranted in this case.
Part of the problem is that the city lost a civil suit against the LaPorta family to the tune of $44 million, which is the largest police misconduct settlement of its kind in Illinois. By committing themselves to the one theory that LaPorta shot himself in a suicide attempt, they lost a considerable amount of both time and money, and perhaps worst of all, credibility. The city spent over $2 million defending themselves against the LaPorta family lawsuit only to lose the lawsuit in a resounding defeat.
Now, the city is forcing LaPorta and his family to testify against the officer they once defended. While one investigation revealed that Kelly did not pull the trigger, the Civilian Office of Police Accountability ruled that Kelly did pull the trigger, and this is what triggered the disciplinary hearing. The City is required to file disciplinary charges if the Civilian Office recommends action. So the City itself has no say in the matter and probably does not think that the LaPorta’s should either.
The City Changes its Story
In 2019, after the Civilian Office of Police Accountability released their findings, the city stopped trying to claim that LaPorta shot himself and instead argued that a quarrel broke out between the two men after Kelly started “yelling and hit his dog.” They then changed their argument in an attempt to vacate the civil award to, “the officer was off-duty so, we’re not responsible.”
However, the plaintiffs argued that the city failed to either investigate the officer or discipline him and he was not “mentally fit” for duty. Kelly had been found “mentally unfit for duty” twice before, once for beating his girlfriend.
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