Defense attorney Sam Adam Jr. says he doesn’t understand why the Cook County State’s Attorney is trying to send his client Paul Manning to prison.
After all, Adam notes, Manning just reached a court settlement with the Harvey police officers who shot him nearly three years ago. While he would not discuss the details of that settlement because they are confidential by court order, NBC5 Investigates had found an unsealed court motion indicating that Harvey has agreed to pay Manning $1 million.
Manning was shot by police during a street stop in December of 2012. At the time, they insisted he was armed. But Adam argues his client had no gun, suggesting the weapon was either planted or has never materialized at all.
Plus, there are no crime scene photos showing a recovered gun.
“This is an innocent man…and this case needs to go away,” he says of his 27-year-old client. “This is absurd.”
Manning was charged with armed violence, possession of cannabis with intent to deliver, and aggravated assault of a police officer. In court documents, he contends he was merely walking down a public street when a Harvey Police officer accosted him, and shot him twice as he attempted to flee. During the melee, one of the officers also shot a bystander’s puppy. (That bystander also sued the Harvey Police and reached a settlement last month).
The Illinois State Police were enlisted to help process the crime scene. But even though a State Police trooper says she inventoried and photographed three guns, two from the police officers and one from Manning, no photos exist.
“It has always been the position of the Defendant that at no time did he possess a handgun, carry one, or have a handgun on December 30, 2012,” Adam wrote in a motion filed today in Circuit Court. “Therefore, any handgun claimed to have been his was either planted at the scene or later obtained and placed into evidence at a different time.”
The court motion says when questioned about the lack of photos, the trooper said the memory card in her camera had become corrupted. But when pressed, Adam told the court today that the trooper took the 5th amendment, refusing to answer any further questions.
“Think about that, the last time a police officer for the Illinois State Police took the fifth about why the photographs are quote-unquote, destroyed,” he said. “This is absurd that we are going forward like this.”
State’s Attorney spokesman Steve Campbell notes that a settlement of a civil case does not translate to an automatic dismissal of criminal charges.
“We will have to examine the information in the civil case before determining any action,” he said.
Again, Adam would not discuss the details of the civil settlement. But he argues that the justice system is sending his client very mixed messages. On the one hand, the very officers who shot him have settled with Manning out of court. But State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez continues the effort on the criminal side to send him to prison.
“What is fairness here, is we will not make this man go forward on a case with a 15 year minimum, on a case that even the Harvey officers allowed to be settled,” he said. “That cannot be!”