Mostly Cloudy
72°FMostly CloudyFull Forecast

No charges for cop in 2011 fatal shooting caught on video

Published: Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2013 10:30 a.m. CDT

CHICAGO (MCT) — Cook County prosecutors said Tuesday they would not bring criminal charges against a Chicago police officer who was captured on videotape fatally shooting an unarmed man, saying an exhaustive review showed that the officer reasonably mistook a cellphone for a gun pointed at him on a darkened street.

The death of Flint Farmer in June 2011 was the third shooting — the second fatal shooting — in six months by Officer Gildardo Sierra, a patrolman in the Englewood district. It was so disturbing that it prompted police Superintendent Garry McCarthy to tell the Tribune that he considered the shooting a "big problem" and to acknowledge the department had erred by allowing Sierra back on the street given the previous shootings.

In December, the city of Chicago settled a lawsuit brought by Farmer's estate for $4.1 million without admitting wrongdoing.

Still, Cook County prosecutors said their two-year investigation of the shooting showed that Sierra had reason to believe that Farmer was armed and posed a threat of "great bodily harm." They said that although Sierra fired his weapon 16 times, hitting Farmer seven times -- including three times in the back -- they did not think they could show that the shooting was unreasonable, a key component of proving that Sierra had committed a crime.

"Although Officer Sierra was mistaken in his belief that Flint Farmer had a gun, not every mistake demands the action of the criminal justice system, even when the results are tragic," State's Attorney Anita Alvarez said Tuesday in a letter to McCarthy.

(c)2013 the Chicago Tribune Distributed by MCT Information Services

Get breaking and town-specific news sent to your phone. Sign up for text alerts from the Morris Daily Herald.

More News

Watch Now

Player embeded on all MDH instances for analytics purposes.

Skydivers

More videos »