Chicago cops have pattern of killing people -- then charging victims' friends with murder
Angry cop in riot gear (Shutterstock.com)

Chicago Police reportedly have a years-long pattern of killing suspects and bystanders, then pinning the blame on the victims' friends and associates.


The Chicago Reader said on Friday that over the last five years, the Chicago Police Department and Cook County Sheriff's Department have filed felony murder charges against at least 10 civilians, including three cases where police shot into fleeing vehicles and then charged the surviving passengers with murder.

"Although these prosecutions are sanctioned by Illinois law, these cases raise difficult questions about the law's use and impact—especially when felony murder charges stem from situations involving possible police misconduct," wrote the Reader's Alison Flowers and Sarah Macaraeg.

The Reader told the story of Tevin Louis and Marquise Sampson, best friends raised in foster care who robbed a gyro restaurant of around $1,250 and fled the scene. Police chased Louis and Sampson, who became separated as they tried to escape.

Chicago Police officer Antonio Dicarlo and his partner pursued Sampson and Dicarlo shot the youth three times, killing him. When Louis doubled back and arrived at the scene, he was arrested and charged with Sampson's murder under a controversial Illinois law called the felony murder rule, which states that while committing a felony, a person can set in motion a chain of events which leads to the death of another person.

He was tried and convicted and is now serving a 32-year sentence for armed robbery with an additional 20 years for Sampson's death.

"I'm not perfect," Louis told the Reader. "But I don't deserve this."

CPD spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said that the rule is in place to hold criminals accountable.

In an email to Flowers and Macaraeg, Guglielmi wrote, "(W)hen wrong doing [sic] or intentional misconduct is discovered, CPD holds individuals accountable." The department's "commitment to the highest levels of integrity and the highest levels of professional standards is unwavering," he insisted.

The Reader noted that Officer Dicarlo's 15-year career with the Chicago Police has been marred by 21 separate allegations of misconduct. The city has settled in two lawsuits against Dicarlo totaling $55,000. He was cited four times for excessive force, including improper use of a weapon.

"Misconduct complaints also accuse Dicarlo of conduct unbecoming an officer, unnecessary physical contact, illegal search, illegal arrest, and five separate instances of failure to provide service," the article said. One allegation came from fellow officers, who said that Dicarlo beat a suspect so badly that he was left bleeding from the head.

Fellow officers tried to get Dicarlo to call an ambulance for the suspect, but he waved off those concerns and went on to lie to health care personnel about how the man received his wounds.

The felony murder rule is rooted in English common law. Under those laws, all felonies were punishable by death and anyone involved in a violent crime could be held liable in the death of an accomplice. Some states still have these provisions in place, while others have instituted statutes that protect arrested people from being charged in the death of those with whom they are arrested.

"A felony murder charge for an arrestee where a police officer has killed somebody is an indicator that the police officer probably engaged in misconduct," said Guyora Binder of the University at Buffalo Law School.

She explained that when police act irresponsibly and cause needless death, prosecutors' response is typically to charge an arrestee with the death.

Given the CPD's history of operating a "black site" where prisoners were tortured and the officer misconduct that resulted in the death of 18-year-old Paul O'Neal in late July, the department is coming under heavy scrutiny.

The department's state attorney said that the department is well within its rights in that it "does not base felony murder charges against a defendant charged with murder...upon irresponsible police conduct. The murder charges are well founded under established law."