A Chicago police officer is being investigated by the FBI for killing a suspect in June, according to a published report.
The investigation centers around a video that reportedly shows Officer Gildardo Sierra firing several shots at a man who'd already been hit, and was lying on his stomach on the ground, the Chicago Tribune reported. Those fatal shots hit the man, Flint Farmer, in the back. Sierra later said he feared for his life and thought Farmer had a gun. But in reality, according to the Tribune, he just had a cell phone.
All told, Sierra fired 16 shots at Farmer, hitting him seven times -- three in the back.
The Chicago Police Department ruled the shooting was a justified homicide. But Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy says it's "a big problem," and Sierra should not have been on the street.
Sierra was involved in two previous shootings this year, one of them fatal. The police department ruled all of them justified.
The report is raising questions about the validity of such department investigations, and whether police are capable of policing themselves.
McCarthy acknowledged to the Tribune that the department previously did not have a system in place to track officers involved in multiple shootings -- even if they happened in a short period of time. And it also did not keep track of whether officers who'd been involved in shootings were emotionally or psychologically impacted by them. McCarthy said the department has since implemented such policies.
McCarthy told the paper the first two shootings Sierra was involved in were justified, but after they happened, he should have been put on desk duty rather than back on the beat.
Sierra has been stripped of his police powers. He responded to the Tribune report, saying the video does not show everything that happened.
"It's only part of the incident," he said.
Just before the shooting, police had been called to respond to a report of Farmer allegedly beating his girlfriend and her 3-year-old daughter. He had a prior domestic violence arrest.
Farmer's family has filed a federal lawsuit against the city.