Chicago, IL – Friends and family were heartbroken and demanded answers after a young man was shot in the back and killed by police. Body camera footage revealed that the officer responsible for his death lied to neighbors in an attempted cover-up after shooting him in the back.
This week, we learned that the civilian oversight agency that investigates possible misconduct by Chicago police says it has finished its investigation into the shooting death of Maurice Granton Jr., 24, but aren't releasing their findings.
According to the Chicago Tribune, the Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA) would not disclose its findings but has submitted them to the Police Department, an indication the agency may have concluded that the shooting violated policy and wants the department to review any recommended discipline.
Discipline doesn't go far enough, according to the family's attorney, Andrew M. Stroth, who told the Tribune they want criminal charges brought.
“At the moment in which Maurice Granton was shot and killed, he was unarmed and his hands were visible,” the lawyer said. “It’s another unarmed Black man shot in the back.”
Because police must review the findings first, COPA cannot publicly release their findings until the department reviews it. According to the Tribune:
The Police Department has 60 days to respond, with a possible 30-day extension, from the day it received the findings, which was the end of November. The department can respond by either agreeing or disagreeing with the findings and recommendations, and then the case may proceed to the Chicago Police Board.
Granton was killed by police in 2018, and the Chicago Police Department immediately went into “damage control” mode by claiming that the father of two fled from the officers when they were trying to question him in a drug investigation, and he was armed and dangerous. He was not.
The body camera footage that was released shows Granton trying to climb over a fence surrounding an empty lot when an officer opens fire and shoots him in the back. Granton then falls to the ground and is seen writhing in pain. The first 33 seconds of the video contains no sound, which raises questions about how many shots the officer fired, or if he gave his target any kind of warning before he started shooting.
Even though Granton’s legs do not move, and it appears that the gunshot paralyzed him immediately, the officer continues to point his gun at the man. When the audio is introduced, the officer can be heard saying, “Get down! Stay down! Stay there.”
The officer then turned to other officers nearby, and yelled, “There’s a weapon right there! Weapon right there. Get the weapon. Go get the weapon.”
As residents in the neighborhood began to question why there were gunshots, and what was happening, the officer turned and yelled “No one is hurt over here! No one is hurt!”
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In addition to the fact that the officer is clearly telling a blatant lie to concerned neighbors, his conduct also shows that he made no attempt to render any kind of medical aid, and instead chose to watch Granton die right in front of him.
While it was clear that the officers couldn’t care less if Granton survived, multiple other people began approaching the scene—a few of whom realized that Granton was the victim and called out his name—and as a crowd formed in protest, the officers on the scene focused on containing it, and they left Granton to die.
The weapon that the officers claim they recovered was more than 20 feet away from Granton’s body, and given the fact that the officer appeared to know exactly where it was seconds after he shot Granton, raises questions about why the officer opened fire in the first place.
The officer shot Granton in the back when the man appeared as though he was not attempting to harm or threaten anyone, and if the officer already knew where the weapon was that he claims were being carried by Granton, then it would be impossible for him to claim that he truly “feared for his life” when he opened fire.
While police did not provide audio of the gunshots, ABC 7 reported that nearby surveillance cameras captured one gunshot followed by at least three consecutive gunshots.
Granton’s father told reporters “at no point in the video was my son armed. At no point in the video was it a confrontation.”
"It was a cold-blooded murder. It’s the most terrible feeling you can ever feel, to see one of your children killed and especially by a policeman who’s supposed to serve and protect him," Maurice Granton Sr. said.
Maurice Granton Jr. leaves behind two young daughters, and they will be forced to grow up without a father. As The Free Thought Project has reported, unfortunately, this type of shooting is not uncommon. The same police officers who are supposed to “serve and protect” are quick to open fire—often because they know that they can find a way to justify their actions, and they will face no accountability for the lives they have taken.
“If you watch the video evidence of the shooting from the officer’s own body camera, it’s obvious that it’s an unjustified shooting,” Stroth said. “Two young girls no longer have their father because of the unjustified use of lethal force.
“The video speaks for itself,” he added. “There is clearly a pattern and practice of access and lethal force used by Chicago police officers.”
Watch the body camera footage below: