CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – Surveillance video has emerged of a off-duty Chicago law enforcement officer shooting and wounding an unarmed autistic African-American teenager in last year.
Recently, the Civilian Office of Police Accountability released seven videos and four audio files related to the shooting of then-18-year-old Ricardo Hayes by Chicago Police Officer Sgt. Khalil Muhammad at 5:06 AM on Aug. 13, 2017 in the 10900 block of South Hermosa.
In the released video, there is not a display of a conversation or an exchange of words that can be seen or heard. Hayes can be seen taking steps onto a parkway and toward what appears to be Muhammad’s vehicle. At this point Hayes is not into the street before Muhammad takes fire. Two gunshots can be heard down the block and subsequently we see Hayes running off in the opposite direction of Muhammad’s vehicle. Muhammad is seen exiting his car to look for Hayes, but then returns to his car and then drives off.
Property records show that off-duty officer Muhammad owns property in the area of the scene of the incident.
In later reports we find that Hayes did not suffer life-threatening injuries from the shooting. The videos were initially withheld because Hayes — who also suffers from schizophrenia — was considered a minor at the time of the shooting due to his mental capacity. Hayes has been on medication for the duration of his life and his caretaker reported him missing hours before what Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson initially called an, “armed confrontation,” before finding that Ricardo Hayes was unarmed.
In a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, they say Hayes had wandered away from home and that his caretaker had called police informing them he is autistic. Karen Sheley of the ACLU of Illinois says the video shows “there was no justification for the officer to shoot.”
The lawsuit states that Hayes “functions at the cognitive level of a child, and he has difficulty communicating. Ricky looks much younger than his age and his disabilities are immediately recognizable.” Muhammad’s gunfire struck Hayes in the chest and arm, the suit stated. Muhammad eventually caught up with Hayes and ordered him to the ground and called an ambulance, the suit states. The call to 911 was among the audio files released. “The guy, like, he was about to pull a gun. Walked up to the car, and I had to shoot,” Muhammad told a Chicago Fire Department dispatcher.
Muhammad was not charged with any criminal charges, however, Muhammad was stripped of his police powers shortly after the shooting and has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the COPA investigation. Police disciplinary records show that since Muhammad’s 2000 hire by the Chicago Police Department, he has been subject to eight misconduct complaints.
Warning the following raw video footage may contain graphic and disturbing content. Viewer discretion is advised.
Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=86WTjWcTKKY