In Georgia, if you and your friends are committing some crime, get spotted, and run, you can be charged with murder if a police officer pulls the trigger and kills one of your friends. In fact, all of your friends who were there at the scene can be charged with your friend’s murder even though they never pulled the trigger.
In Illinois, we do things a little differently. Firing wantonly at fleeing suspects is not considered a laudable act. In Chicago, we have a civilian oversight agency that investigates police shootings and when and if appropriate, files recommendations with the department for disciplinary action. This is where we are with the fatal shooting of Maurice Granton, Jr. who was killed by police in 2018 while attempting to flee. While the task force would not disclose the contents of their investigation and simply handed their recommendation over to the department, this is generally an indication that they found cause for disciplinary action and perhaps even criminal charges.
Meanwhile, Granton’s family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Chicago P.D. claiming that he was shot in the back while unarmed and posed no threat to police officers. His attorney claims that his hands were visible when the shot was fired. The family is seeking an undisclosed amount of money to settle the claim.
What Happens Now?
The Civilian of Police Accountability (COPA) has filed their investigation with the police department. The police department has 60 days to respond but can ask for one 30-day extension. COPA is prohibited from releasing their findings until Chicago P.D. has had a chance to review them. The department can either accept or reject the findings. The issue then will move before the Chicago Police Board.
What Happened Then?
The department says that a plainclothes tactical officer working a drug investigation came upon Granton and ordered him to stop. Granton did not stop. The officer says he pulled a gun, so he discharged his weapon, killing Granton. A 9mm handgun was recovered from the scene.
Bodycam video tells a slightly different story. Granton can be seen climbing a fence when he was shot in the back by officers. It is kind of hard to scale a fence while brandishing a weapon. Go ahead, try it.
COPA has likely concluded that the officer shot a defenseless man in the back as he was trying to get away. The officer’s story about Granton having a gun is not supported by the bodycam footage, yet somehow there is a 9mm weapon at the scene. The police officer who fired this weapon claims Granton was a threat, yet Granton was shot in the back while his hands were obviously visible.
If these were just two people, neither of them employed by the government, what type of verdict would the jury return? Probably a second-degree murder charge.
Talk to a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have recently shot anyone in the back as they were attempting to flee from you, you might need a skilled Chicago criminal defense attorney. Call David Freidberg today at (312) 560-7100 to learn more about how we can help.