Nearly two years after two Chicago police officers chased a fellow officer down Roosevelt Road triggering a violent crash which killed that officer and an innocent citizen, the city of Chicago remains silent on exactly what happened.
The fleeing officer, Taylor Clark, was killed in that accident, along with another motorist, 27-year-old Chequita Adams.
“It is clear to anyone who sees this scenario and knows the facts, that the police bungled this situation,” says attorney James Montgomery Jr., who represents Adams’ family. “This is perhaps the most egregious conduct that I have seen in a police chase scenario—ever!”
Indeed, the incident has been under investigation since June of 2017. The Civilian Office of Police Accountability finally forwarded its report and recommendations to Chicago police Supt. Eddie Johnson several weeks ago. Johnson has 60 days to either accept or reject those findings. But until then, COPA won’t say what they are recommending as far as potential discipline for the two officers involved.
“It is what I would characterize as gross ineptitude,” Montgomery said. “And in the aftermath, I see protection of those officers.”
The events of that evening are shrouded in mystery. All that is known, is that the two officers pulled behind officer Clark, who was driving his personal car, a black Jeep Cherokee, on Independence just south of Roosevelt.
The officers claimed they followed Clark, because they thought his car matched the description of another automobile which had been involved in a carjacking earlier that month. But that car had already been recovered.
And the officers admitted they never ran the plate, even though surveillance video shows them stopped behind Clark at a red light for at least 20 seconds.
“The license plate of the car in front of you is in full view, and your lights are shining on that plate,” Montgomery said. “They had plenty of time to run that plate.”
Montgomery says the officers claimed in depositions they did not have an adequate signal for their in-car data terminal.
“The protocol is if you don’t have reception there, you get on your radio and call dispatch and have them run it,” he said. “It didn’t happen!”
What happened next only raises more questions. Clark bursts from the light, and the officers follow him at speeds which eventually would top 100 miles per hour. Blowing through the intersection at Kostner Avenue, he struck Adams car broadside, knocking both into a light pole across the intersection. Both were killed instantly.
A Chicago police spokesman told NBC 5 Investigates that the department’s legal affairs unit is still reviewing the case. Johnson’s decision is due early next month.