A Chicago police officer who unloaded his gun on a car full of unarmed African American teenagers recently plead not guilty to federal civil rights charges. The 2013 incident was spurred by the teens stealing a car, but the use of deadly fire is being charged at as excessive force by the officer, since no one’s life was in danger from the teens’ actions as they backed up away from his vehicle when he fired sixteen rounds into the car. Two of the teens were injured. The officer in question is facing federal criminal charges, and is the first Chicago officer of the past 15 years and 702 police shootings to face federal criminal charges, according to the Chicago Tribune.
However, this is not the first time this particular officer has fired his gun in the line of duty. In 2011 he killed a 19-year-old at close range; the mother of the victim was awarded $3.5 million in that unjustified shooting, but the settlement was later overturned by a judge. That judge’s decision is now being appealed. More recently, the city agreed upon a $360,000 settlement for the 2013 shooting in which the officer is facing federal criminal charges. Finally, the third shooting incident that the office committed occurred in 2010 when he shot and injured a 20-year-old woman. He has been on desk work for the past few years, still receiving a paycheck. He is now being charged with two accounts of deprivation of rights under the color of law.
Deprivation of Rights Under the Color of Law and the FBI
When there are allegations that violations of civil right statutes have occurred, The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is usually in charge of the investigation, according to the FBI. The FBI’s involvement in civil rights stems from fighting the KKK and the use of police brutality back in the early 20th century. Many of the later were violations that occurred under the color of law. Color of law is defined in West’s Encyclopedia of American Law as “the appearance of an act being performed based upon legal right or enforcement of statute, when in reality no such right exists.”
Many civil rights violations occur under the color of law. When serious bodily injury occurs from deprivation of rights under the color of law, the defendant may face up to 10 years in prison. If the intent was to kill, the defendant can face up to life in prison or the death sentence, according to Cornell Law. Of the hundreds of civil rights cases opened by the FBI, including the color of law 2013 police shooting case mentioned above, it also takes on civil rights cases involving hate crimes, human trafficking, and cases involving Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act.
Contact an Experienced Chicago Civil Rights Attorney Today
If you have been bullied, harassed, injured, or physically or emotionally assaulted by the police, you may have had your civil rights unknowingly violated. Call an experienced Chicago civil rights violations attorney with Barney and Hourihane today at 312-854-0906.