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Police Officer Charged With Attempted Murder in Off-Duty Altercation

A Chicago police officer is facing numerous charges related to an incident that occurred while he was off-duty and allegedly intoxicated. Joseph Cabrera, who is an eight-year veteran of the Chicago police force, was originally charged with the aggravated discharge of a weapon and disorderly conduct. However, the charges have now escalated to attempted murder, making a false report, and obstruction of justice. 

According to investigators, Cabrera told police he had been attacked before discharging his weapon. But prosecutors say that the officer was never attacked. 

The Prosecution’s Story

The prosecution believes that Cabrera pulled up behind the victim, a 22-year-old man, who was sitting in his vehicle with his girlfriend, who is 21. Cabrera approached the folks in the car and asked them if they needed an ambulance. Initially confused, the victim responded that he was fine. Cabrera returned to his vehicle and sat behind him. Concerned that something weird was going on, the couple drove away.

The couple returned to the same area later, and Cabrera also happened to be there. This time, he confronted the couple, yelling at them to leave the area. Cabrera grabbed the man by the neck and drew his pistol, firing once in the man’s direction, but missing. The couple ended up running back to their home. Meanwhile, Cabrera called 911 which would ultimately lead to his undoing.

Cabrera told the dispatcher that some punk attacked him and he fired his weapon in response. However, an independent eye-witness refuted Cabrera’s claim. That is how a Chicago police officer was charged with attempted murder. However, the victim was also taken into police custody on suspicion of violent battery but was released without charges.

Cabrera’s Situation Worsens

After calling 911 and telling dispatchers that he was attacked, Cabrera went to the hospital complaining of chest pains. At the hospital, Cabrera’s blood was drawn and he was found to have a BAC of over .10 which is well above the legal limit. While essentially confessing to DUI by default, Cabrera has yet to be charged with DUI, probably because he is facing a major felony charge of attempted murder.

Cabrera’s Self-Defense Argument

An attorney for Cabrera released a statement saying that Cabrera’s actions were consistent with self-defense. However, what he did not say is more important. He did not say that a reasonable person would have thought the same thing or that his client’s belief was justified. If the prosecution’s case is true, then Cabrera stalked this couple for no apparent reason and could have killed them if his aim was better. Plus, a witness at the scene will testify for the prosecution that Cabrera initiated the altercation.

If you add the stalking to the shooting, you have attempted first-degree murder.

Talk to a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney

Chicago criminal defense attorney, David Freidberg, handles major criminal cases including murder and attempted murder. Call our office today at (312) 560-7100 and we can begin building your defense immediately.

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