Chicago, IL — The Chicago police department has given the Free Thought Project a countless supply of insidious stories ranging from the shooting death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald to operating a secret black site prison in which innocent people were tortured and maimed. They are continuously caught raiding the homes of innocent people and laying waste to anyone who gets in their way. And, as the following incident shows, being innocent is no defense against Chicago police officers coming to your home, mistaking you for a suspect, and killing you.
In May, as his family sat inside their home, Curtis Stagger was murdered in his uncle’s driveway by Chicago police officers. They were executing an arrest warrant for a man wanted in connection to a drive-by shooting. But Curtis Stagger was not that man. Only after cops would gun him down and take fingerprints from his corpse did they realize they had just killed the wrong man.
Stagger’s story was buried in the media and written off after police claimed that he shot at them. CPD spokesman Anthony Guglielmi initially said officers had returned fire after a suspect shot at them. However, it would later be revealed that cops made that up and Curtis never fired any gun.
It would then take months to get any transparency in the case. Although Curtis was murdered in May, the body camera video was not released publicly until now.
According to police, they initially believed Stagger was wanted in connection with the shooting death of 15-year-old Jaylin Ellzey. But he was not. Nevertheless, a heavily militarized police SWAT team descended on the neighborhood. Whether or not they had the right person was apparently of no consequence to the officers.
When police officers found Stagger in his vehicle, they quickly surrounded him and opened fire through the window, killing him. Stagger never even tried to run.
After they killed him, as stated above, police claim Stagger shot at them. After that was found to be a lie, police then claimed Stagger pulled a gun on the officers — because innocent people with no criminal record whatsoever always pull guns out when surrounded by a dozen heavily armed SWAT cops.
Police then claimed to have found a gun in Stagger’s vehicle, but it was on the passenger’s side, all the way against the door, completely out of Stagger’s reach. If he pulled a gun on cops, how did he manage to put it on the far side of the vehicle, under the passenger seat after he was filled with bullet holes?
“You can see that gun is on the passenger side, kind of under the seat, by the passenger door,” said Michael Oppenheimer, an attorney representing Stagger’s family. “It makes no sense that this kid had a gun in his hand and after he shot it the gun would end up there.”
After they killed Stagger, police attempted to justify it by claiming Stagger’s brother Tyreece Stagger was wanted in connection with the drive-by shooting. However, Tyreece surrendered himself to police voluntarily, went to court, and the warrant for his arrest in connection with the drive-by shooting was thrown out. He was then set free. What’s more, police already had the person who pulled the trigger in that drive-by shooting in custody.
“After he was questioned, he was brought into court and the warrant was dismissed,” Oppenheimer said. “It looks like this could’ve been avoided.”
Indeed, it could’ve been avoided and Curtis Stagger, who was only 21-years-old and who had his entire life in front of him, would still be alive.
As the Free Thought Project has previously reported, the Chicago police have become notorious over the past few years for mistakenly raiding the homes of innocent people. Just last August, two little boys who used to look up to police were traumatized and their view of police tarnished after a SWAT team burst into their home at night and held the entire family at gunpoint, including the children. The family was innocent and just like the above cases, the raid was on the wrong home.
Those two children now suffer from PTSD and have to attend counseling.
It’s not just children either, Chicago cops have raided the wrong homes of elderly women too.
Elizabeth Harrison, 82, used to tell kids to “respect the law.” Then on March 17, 2016, a gang of Chicago cops raided her home, busting down the door and holding her at gunpoint. Because of this trauma, Harrison had to be rushed to the hospital.
The great-grandmother said police must have had the wrong house, but they insisted it was the correct address based on their “intelligence.” No one believed her when she said she was a widow and lived alone. Harrison was made to sit in a chair, overwhelmed with anxiety, while they searched her home for non-existent drugs. The stress was so overwhelming, Harrison was hospitalized.
Despite this history of dangerous terrorism from raiding wrong homes, it appears Chicago cops aren’t trying to get any better at their jobs and remain entirely unapologetic and deadly.