Intelligence Report: Admitted police shooter walks free

September 1, 2011 4:19:37 PM PDT
A South Side Chicago man who admitted shooting and wounding two Chicago Police officers has been found not guilty and released from custody. In this Intelligence Report: How did the shooter's lawyer manage to win such a case?

Twenty-one-year-old Kenneth Green was asleep in his Roseland apartment two years ago when a Chicago Police team showed up with a search warrant for drugs.

Cops used a battering ram to get in.

When police kicked through the bottom of Green's bedroom door, he shot through the door wounding two of the officers. Despite admitting all that, Green got off claiming self-defense.

The early morning raid by police on Green's Roseland apartment building ended in almost three dozen shots fired, mostly by police, after veteran officers Scott McKenna and Danny O'Toole were wounded through the door. The officers would survive, but that day in 2009, Chicago Police Superintendent Jody Weis used the incident to take a stand.

"People are trying to murder police officers left and right," Weis said.

After he shot two policeman, Green was arrested on the spot and charged with attempted murder, aggravated battery with a gun and held without bond.

Last week, after a several day trial, Green was found not guilty. His attorney, Marcus Schantz, told the I-Team that he convinced the jury that Green didn't know they were police outside his door executing a legal search warrant.

"There was testimony that my client had been threatened by some guys from the neighborhood," Schantz said. "He had a real reasonable fear that some people might try to enter his home and harm him or his family. Based on that fear he purchased the handgun and only had it two or three days before this incident."

Schantz disputed police records indicating Green is a gang member and says he has no felony convictions.

"It was my initial assessment of Mr. Green that he was a very good young man who was caught in an unfortunate circumstance and acted within seconds in a way that I probably would have as well," said Schantz.

After the verdict, a police union spokesman said, "Somebody dropped the ball here. It is the fault of the state's attorney. I understand the jury system but what kind of a case did they present? How the hell did a defense attorney convince a jury it was self-defense?"

"He took an act to defend himself, his home and his family, and nothing he did was unreasonable," said Schantz.

A spokesperson for the state's attorney said, "Prosecutors are extremely disappointed with this verdict. The case was charged and prosecuted based on significant and credible evidence. It is unclear what led the jurors to this decision given the fact that there were inconsistencies in (Green's) testimony."

Green's lawyer said, since the verdict, there has been racist reaction on some unofficial police websites. "There's been Ku Klux Klan references. There's been references to my client being killed," said Schantz.

Because of the threats, Schantz said he has concerns for Green's safety and has advised him to leave Chicago.

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