CHICAGO (AP) — A Chicago police officer who resigned from the force 10 months ago was unjustified in fatally shooting an unarmed man in 2011, the city's police oversight board announced Friday.
Gildardo Sierra acted unreasonably in fatally shooting 29-year-old Flint Farmer, the Independent Police Review Authority ruled.
Sierra shot Farmer as he fled the scene of a domestic disturbance in which he allegedly beat his girlfriend. He claimed Farmer brandished what he thought was a gun. It was later found Farmer may have been holding a cellphone.
Dash camera video showed Sierra shooting Farmer while he was on the ground with his back toward the officer. Sierra said he fired the three shots because he saw Farmer move and felt he was still a threat. IPRA's report said the video shows no such movement by the victim.
"While there are a number of factors that are undisputed regarding Subject 1's (Farmer) actions immediately prior to the discharge of Officer A's firearm, there remain issues relating to Officer A's statements regarding this matter," IPRA said in its ruling, adding his statements to the agency "significantly damages his credibility."
IPRA said had Sierra not resigned, he would have been charged with giving a false statement.
Sierra's attorney, Matthew J. McQuaid, did not immediately return phone calls late Friday seeking comment.
Sierra, who resigned in August 2015, was involved in three shootings — two of them fatal — in a six-month span. They included the June 2011 shooting of Farmer.
Farmer's family settled a lawsuit against the city for $4.1 million. Last week, the city settled another case over a fatal shooting involving Sierra for an undisclosed amount.
In that case, Sierra and officer Raoul Mosqueda fatally shot Darius Pinex during a 2011 traffic stop. The officers claimed they opened fire as Pinex refused orders and put his car in reverse. The officers had said they stopped Pinex because his car matched a description they heard on their police radio of a car suspected of involvement in an earlier shooting.
But records emerged after the trial began that officers weren't listening to the channel broadcasting the radio traffic about the suspect's car. The judge said a city lawyer "intentionally concealed" that evidence.
Sierra's shooting of Farmer is only the third case of more than 400 since IPRA's creation in 2007 in which the agency has found an officer violated the use-of-force policy, according to the Chicago Tribune. Mayor Rahm Emanuel has said the agency will be replaced.
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