Video released this week showed the moment an unarmed 23-year-old man was shot by two Chicago police officers. Now a witness, who tried to help an injured Miguel Medina while texting his family goodbye, is speaking out.
In an exclusive interview with The Daily Beast, the witness, who asked to be identified only by name for fear of reprisal, said he saw some of the gunshots from his window and then the aftermath on the ground as he ran out. .
He said Medina, on the ground with police standing near him, was yelling, “Please don’t kill me,” “Why did they shoot me?” “I didn’t do anything” and “I don’t want to die”.
“Almost the whole neighborhood could hear him screaming,” Sean said. “So I immediately put on some pants, I put on some shoes, I grab some gloves, gauze pads and wraps and tape and scissors from my trauma kit.”
He told the police that he could provide help, with skills he had learned working for a defense contractor, and the policemen did not stop him from approaching Medina. Sean said he can be seen running into Medina and rendering aid in surveillance footage released Tuesday.
He said that while he was feeling the gunshot wound, Medina was texting his mother and partner.
“The most heartbreaking thing was that the guy was constantly saying ‘Why did you shoot me?’ Do not let me die. You see the broken wine bottle on the floor next to him and take out his phone and start texting goodbye to his mom and his girlfriend.”
Last Friday, Chicago Police Sgt. Christopher Liakopoulos and Officer Ruben Reynoso were charged in connection with the shooting: three counts of aggravated assault with a firearm, aggravated discharge of a firearm, and officer misconduct.
Cook County State’s Attorney Kimberly Foxx said the officers claimed they were shot first, but video evidence contradicted that claim. Video posted Tuesday appeared to show officers firing the first shots.
Both officers were relieved of their police powers, according to a local CBS affiliate, and posted $25,000 bond.
According to prosecutors’ court records, on July 22, Liakopoulis and Reynoso slowly backed their patrol car toward a group of youths gathered on a sidewalk in the early morning.
Medina and a 17-year-old boy, who was carrying a bag that the state attorney said contained a gun, walked toward the vehicle, but the teen with the bag began to flee, according to prosecutors. Medina, who was unarmed and “held a cell phone and a bottle of wine in one hand, while the other hand was empty,” raised his arms and slowly approached the passenger side of the vehicle, according to the prosecutors’ filing. last week.
That’s when both officers suddenly pointed their guns out the passenger-side window and shot at Medina before aiming and shooting the fleeing minor, who fired at the officers after shooting the 23-year-old, according to prosecutors.
In surveillance video released to the public by the city’s independent police watchdog organization, COPA, on Tuesday, the boy was off camera after running away, and the footage did not include sound.
“COPA is in possession of additional video, not part of today’s release, that captures a minor discharging a firearm in the direction of officers after officers have fired their weapons and he has fled the scene.” COPA said in a statement.
Liakopoulos’ attorney, Tim Grace, declined to comment on the statements made by Sean, the witness. Brian Sexton, who represents Reynoso, did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Sean’s remarks from the Daily Beast on Wednesday.
But last Friday, the lawyers argued before Judge Maryam Ahmad that the officers fired their weapons in response to the minor pointing a gun at them.
“There is video of the minor standing in the middle of the street shooting at police,” Liakopoulis’ attorney, Tim Grace, said in a text message to The Daily Beast on Tuesday. “Transparency means that we publish the entire video, not just half of the incident.”
Sean said that after paramedics arrived at the scene of the shooting and took charge of Medina, a detective interviewed him and described what he had seen: that “the person who was shot was unarmed” and that “everything he had It was a bottle of wine.”
He said the cop rejected his account.
“The cop insisted they get shot first,” Sean said. “And I remember telling the cop that that doesn’t make any sense.”
Gregory Kulis, Miguel Medina’s attorney, said he could corroborate statements Sean said he heard screaming from the 23-year-old’s gunshot. Medina also filed a civil lawsuit against the police.
And the cops don’t even come close to [help Medina]Kulis told The Daily Beast, emphasizing that if police “think someone has a gun,” they would have gone to check.
After seeing the video posted Tuesday, Sean said he realized he may have nearly been shot.
“I didn’t realize until the video, I didn’t realize that the policemen were ready to attack me,” he said, explaining that the video shows the policemen “looking for his holster” when he arrives to help Medina.
Sean would later tell the detective who interviewed him that he doesn’t trust the police due to “horrible experiences” he’s had previously.
“The detective told me explicitly, ‘I hope I changed your mind.’ And that is 1,000,000% the opposite of what he did.”
Sean was also interviewed by COPA, he said.
COPA spokeswoman Jennifer Rottner declined to comment on whether Sean had spoken to investigators due to the watchdog’s “open, active and ongoing investigation”.
Source : www.thedailybeast.com