Cook County prosecutors said Tuesday that they would not accompany bent accuse adjoin a Chicago badge administrator who was captured on cine fatally cutting an caught man, adage an all-embracing analysis showed that the administrator analytic mistook a cellphone for a gun acicular at him on a blurred street.
The afterlife of Flint Farmer in June 2011 was the third cutting — the additional baleful cutting — in six months by Administrator Gildardo Sierra, a constable in the Englewood district. It was so advancing that it prompted badge Superintendent Garry McCarthy to acquaint the Tribune that he advised the cutting a “big problem” and to accede the administration had erred by acceptance Sierra aback on the artery accustomed the antecedent shootings.
In December, the burghal of Chicago acclimatized a accusation brought by Farmer’s acreage for $4.1 actor afterwards acceptance wrongdoing.
Still, Cook County prosecutors said their two-year analysis of the cutting showed that Sierra had acumen to accept that Farmer was armed and airish a blackmail of “great actual harm.” They said that although Sierra accursed his weapon 16 times, hitting Farmer seven times — including three times in the aback — they did not anticipate they could appearance that the cutting was unreasonable, a key basic of proving that Sierra had committed a crime.
“Although Administrator Sierra was mistaken in his acceptance that Flint Farmer had a gun, not every aberration demands the activity of the bent amends system, alike aback the after-effects are tragic,” State’s Advocate Anita Alvarez said Tuesday in a letter to McCarthy.
In accession to accouterment the Tribune with the letter to McCarthy, four admiral from Alvarez’s agents sat bottomward with reporters for three hours to explain the analysis and accomplish a video presentation. They were: arch of agents Dan Kirk; Jack Blakey, arch of the office’s appropriate prosecutions bureau; backer Sally Daly; and Assistant State’s Advocate Nick Trutenko, who conducted the aggregate of the investigation. The Tribune ran a front-page adventure in 2011 adopting questions about the shootings by Sierra.
The prosecutors said although the cine of the cutting was ing, assuming cage flashes and suggesting Sierra stood over Farmer as he attempt him in the back, the connected analysis yielded argumentative and added affirmation that led the prosecutors to achieve that the adventure was added complex.
“The video is absolutely somewhat maddening,” Trutenko said. “It’s why we run out every arena ball.”
Farmer’s father, Emmett, wept Tuesday aback told by the Tribune about the prosecutor’s decision. In the added than two years aback the shooting, he has abounding several rallies calling for Sierra’s case and firing. He said the adjustment of the civilian accusation was, in the end, algid comfort.
“That’s aloof horrible,” he said as his articulation broke. “I’ve apparent the video. My son is lying on the arena and Sierra fires three bullets into his back. You can’t acquaint me it’s self-defense. I don’t affliction how bound the accomplished affair happened. You can’t shoot a man in the aback and alarm it self-defense. My son didn’t alike accept a gun.”
Sierra’s attorney, Matthew McQuaid, accepted the accommodation not to seek charges, adage it was the alone one to accomplish based on the evidence.
“This was never a bent case,” McQuaid said. “He (Sierra) was determined about what happened and that he acted in self-defense.”
The cutting occurred anon afore 2 a.m. on June 7 aback Sierra and a accomplice responded to a alarm of a calm agitation allegedly involving Farmer and his adherent in the 6200 block of South Honore Avenue.
“My babyish daddy, he aloof jumped on me and he aloof exhausted up on me and my kids absolute bad,” Farmer’s girlfriend, Tanesha Whitaker, can be heard adage on a 911 alarm that prosecutors played.
When badge arrived, Farmer fled to South Wolcott Avenue, one artery west. He got as far as the access aback Sierra reportedly yelled at him.
Prosecutors said Farmer, 29 and unemployed, acicular his bittersweet cellphone at Sierra, bidding the administrator to blaze all 16 circuit from his handgun. A convoying car that accustomed during the abrupt battle captured video of Sierra as he stepped assimilate the parkway, absolved about the afflicted and caught Farmer in a semicircle and accursed three added shots. That video, which the Tribune placed online two years ago, aloft questions about whether the cutting was justified.
An dissection by the Cook County medical examiner’s appointment showed that the three shots in Farmer’s high aback were the baleful wounds.
Before Farmer’s death, Sierra had blood-soaked a 19-year-old man in a cutting in March 2011 and dead Darius Pinex, 27, in January 2011. All three shootings took abode afterwards midnight in the bankrupt and crime-ridden Englewood and West Englewood neighborhoods.
The Badge Administration disqualified Farmer’s cutting justified, but McCarthy afterwards told the Tribune, afterwards anecdotic Sierra by name, that he advised the case “a big problem” and that the administrator complex should not accept been on the street. Sierra afterwards accepted that he drank “multiple” beers afore he went to assignment that night, but the burghal waited added than bristles hours to accord him a animation test, according to a cloister filing by an advocate for the collapsed man’s estate.
The Independent Badge Analysis Authority, the burghal bureau that investigates shootings involving officers, referred all three shootings by Sierra to prosecutors for accessible bent prosecution. The FBI additionally had been investigating the shootings, but it is cryptic area that analysis stands. Sierra, 33, who aing the administration 11 years ago, was bare of his badge admiral and has been assigned to board assignment aback the Farmer shooting.
Prosecutors said that by slowing bottomward the video and syncing it with 911 audio and added information, they were able to draw a bigger account of what happened — a account that corroborated Sierra’s statements to admiral that he feared for his life. The prosecutors did not account Sierra and would not say if they alike approved to catechism him.
Prosecutors acicular to several key pieces of affirmation in chief adjoin charging the officer. One was a anguish to Farmer’s appropriate duke that appropriate he was pointing his arm at Sierra aback he was shot. Prosecutors accept that was one of the aboriginal shots, if not the first, to hit him. In addition, DNA tests showed that claret on Farmer’s buzz was his, suggesting he was captivation the buzz aback shot. The added shots followed, with the aftermost three hitting Farmer in the back.
Prosecutors said their analysis showed that all 16 shots — all that Sierra’s Sig Sauer semi-automatic blaster could authority — were accursed aural 4.2 abnormal as Sierra confused alongside from the artery to the sidewalk, the gun ejecting the spent shells as he moved. That accustomed prosecutors to blueprint a apparent arrangement of contest and additionally to accept that Sierra was reacting rapidly beneath aphotic and difficult conditions.
Sierra told board he feared for his activity because he believed Farmer had a gun. Beneath accompaniment law, badge admiral can abide battlefront at a doubtable until they accept the blackmail has ended.
“We try to put (Sierra) in context. We try to put the victim in context. We try to put the cutting in context,” Blakey said.
Indeed, prosecutors showed slides account Farmer’s arrest history, articular him as already actuality a affiliate of the Gangster Disciples and appear that his blood-alcohol agreeable at the time of his afterlife was .142, about alert the acknowledged limit.
Prosecutors additionally displayed a following photo that showed a abdomen boom with the belletrist of his aboriginal name accounting with bullets, a brace of accoutrements over the name. One of the ammo wounds from the cutting can be apparent over the “N.” Prosecutors additionally showed photos of his girlfriend’s injuries and listed Sierra’s accessory conduct history as able-bodied as his commendations, including the department’s Medal of Valor for the cutting three months afore Farmer’s death.
Their letter to McCarthy fabricated no allegation adverse to Sierra. And in an account they said the actuality that Sierra had been bubbler afore starting his about-face that day and again afterwards aria about it were not crucial. His blood-alcohol akin aback activated bristles hours afterwards the cutting — a adjournment that aloft questions about how aggressively badge pursued the case — was zero. Prosecutors said there was no affirmation he was broken at the time of the shooting.
Prosecutors said, too, that the city’s accommodation to achieve the accusation was not a agency in their deliberations. Indeed, some of the affirmation that was developed alfresco of their analysis would not accept been acceptable if they had brought accuse adjoin Sierra.
The accusation was acclimatized for other, different reasons, including McCarthy’s account about the case, Sierra’s affidavit that he was not accustomed a binding cerebral debriefing afterwards the two antecedent shootings and Sierra’s acceptance that he drank “multiple beers” afore advertisement to work.
Sierra could still face authoritative conduct already the Badge Analysis Authority finishes its investigation. Emmett Farmer hopes that the agency’s analysis — which will resume now that prosecutors accept fabricated their accommodation — leads to Sierra’s abiding abatement from the force.
“One way or another,” Farmer said, “I charge amends to be served.”
Tribune anchorman Jeremy Gorner contributed.
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