Chicago’s top cop has been thrust into an ongoing wrongful death case stemming from the 2013 shooting of a 17 year old on Chicago’s South Side.
The official account of the shooting from the Independent Police Review Authority, states that 17-year-old Christian Green was standing near the Carter School on South Michigan Avenue on July 4, 2013. As police approached, the report says, Green began running. At one point, officers said he attempted to dispose of a weapon, but picked it up again, and after running into a vacant lot, turned and pointed the weapon toward the officers.
The report says officer Robert Gonzalez fired 11 times. Paramedics are quoted as saying that Green suffered a single gunshot wound to the chest. But that version of events is contradicted by the official report of the Cook County Medical Examiner, who found the day after the incident that Green was shot in the back.
Nevertheless, the Independent Police Review Authority ruled the shooting was justified, stating that the officer had fired “to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself, or his partner.”
The highest ranking police official at the scene the day of the shooting, according to a new motion filed in the case, was then-Deputy Chief Eddie Johnson, who is now Chicago’s Superintendent of Police. And that motion says Johnson signed off on the official version, agreeing that the shooting appeared to have been justified.
There has long been a dispute about whether Green had a gun at the moment he was shot. The motion states for the first time that the only weapon found by detectives was located fully 75 feet from his body.
But the court document, filed by attorney Victor Henderson on behalf of Green’s mother, states that despite the conflicting information concerning the autopsy result and the location of the gun, official reports sent up the chain of command still stated fully three weeks after the shooting that Green had been shot in the chest.
The shooting was eventually ruled “justified” by the Independent Police Review Authority.
As part of the lawsuit, Henderson says he deposed Johnson, and at that time he said he was learning for the first time about where Green had been shot.
“Johnson opined that the detectives should have re-interviewed the involved officers once they learned about the conflicting versions of events,” the motion states. “The detectives said they never re-interviewed the involved officers. Upon information and belief, the detectives made a conscious decision not to re-interview the involved officers to perpetuate the code of silence.”
In an interview with NBC5 Investigates, attorney Henderson said that while he has alleged a coverup of the case, he does not believe Johnson was involved.
“I believe he was misled,” Henderson said. “He appeared to be very honest to me.”