CHICAGO — A judge found two Chicago police officers not guilty after they were accused of shooting an unarmed man and then lying about it.
Sgt. Christopher Liakopoulos and Officer Ruben Reynoso were each charged with aggravated battery with a firearm, aggravated discharge of a firearm and official misconduct.
With the officers’ loved ones and supporters crowding the Cook County courtroom, Judge Lawrence Flood read the verdict, drawing praise from FOP Chicago Lodge 7 boss John Catanzara.
“He saw through the victims’ lies and repeated lies,” he said.
Last year, prosecutors said the officers instigated a gunfight with a teenager, then shot and wounded his companion, Miguel Medina, in the Pilsen neighborhood.
The officers’ report claimed they came under fire and shot Medina in self-defense — but no gun was found near him.
“I’m amazed at the unbelievable tone deafness of the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office to not understand the plight of Chicago police officers,” said defense attorney Tim Grace.
Kim Foxx approved charges related to the July 22, 2022 police-involved gun battle in Pilsen at 18th St. and Morgan. Prosecutors and the Civilian Office of Police Accountability determined that police fired first after encountering a group of suspicious individuals. No officers were injured in the early morning encounter.
Medina testified in the bench trial.
Before reading the verdict, Judge Flood declared that he found Medina’s testimony to lack credibility. The judge also ruled that it was difficult for police to see the cell phone and bottle of wine in Medina’s hand.
Looking at the totality of events, Judge Flood ruled that any reasonable police officer would have feared for his life.
Foxx reacted to the verdict, saying the decision to charge any officer in a police-involved shooting is difficult but cited the evidence and the law as reasons for merit.
“(Prosecutors) tried this case to the best of their abilities,” she added.
Lawyers for the acquitted police officers say they’re entitled to get their jobs back. For now, both Liakopoulos and Reynoso remain stripped of police powers. Whether the duo gets reinstated lies with the Chicago Police Department.