A Chicago police officer who faces getting fired for allegedly lying about a 2014 fatal police shooting is resigning before the police department takes disciplinary action in the case, lawyers representing the officer announced Thursday.
Officer Saharat Sampim claimed he saw Roshad McIntosh, 19, point a gun at a fellow police officer, who fatally shot McIntosh.
McIntosh was shot on the back porch of an apartment building on the city’s West Side. Police said the man fled on foot as officers arrived to investigate a tip about guns. Surveillance video indicates Sampim was not in the position he reported. The events that led to the shooting weren’t captured on video.
The Civilian Office of Police Accountability in February 2020 recommended Sampim’s firing after determining the 22-year veteran of the Chicago Police Department could not see what he claimed based on where he was standing when the shooting occurred. Despite its recommendation on Sampim, COPA twice found the shooting of McIntosh was justified.
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Sampim’s attorney, Tim Grace, said retirement was the best choice for his client and his family. Grace expressed doubt that the Chicago Police Board, which would have decided Sampim’s fate, would rule in his favor.
“He’s served his city honorably for many years,” Grace told the Chicago Sun-Times. “It’s very difficult to be a police officer nowadays. I think a lot of police officers are starting to realize that. And I think the people that are really going to get hurt are the citizens.”
COPA determined Sampim’s alleged violations ranged from making false statements to bringing discredit to the police department. Sampim had been in a no-pay status with the department since last year when the rule violations were filed against him, Grace said. Sampim’s resignation will take effect April 30.
Attorney Andrew Stroth, who represents McIntosh’s family in a federal lawsuit tied to the shooting, expressed disappointment over Sampim’s resignation, saying Sampim won’t be held accountable for his role in the shooting investigation.
“Officer Sampim was part of the blue code of silence and he made false statements,” he added. “And it’s devastating to the family and disappointing that the officer responsible in part is not facing any consequences.”