Board holds hearings about officer involved in 2011 off-duty shooting

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The Chicago Police Board held a hearing Tuesday about Officer Frank Perez, who was involved in a 2011 shooting. (WLS)

The Chicago Police Board is holding hearings this week before deciding the fate of Officer Frank Perez, who was involved in a 2011 off-duty shooting.

Perez was leaving his security guard job when he fired several rounds into a car, striking an innocent bystander, in the early morning of Nov. 5, 2011. He was stripped of his police powers a year ago when then-Supt. Garry McCarthy forwarded his charges to the police board.

Perez hopes the police board will allow him to keep his job, concluding that he did nothing wrong and was merely trying to nab a suspect. On Tuesday, Perez testified before the board during the hearing.

The shooting happened when Perez was leaving La Pasadita Restaurant in the 1100-block of North Ashland. He told the board that he was standing outside of his vehicle, when he saw a flashes coming out of a car heading southbound. He drew his service weapon and fired 16 shots.

Some of the shots hit a different car. Perez mistakenly shot Carlos Rodriguez in the back. He was a cook at La Pasadita.

"The department doesn't contend 16 shots were excessive, they contend he should not have hit another vehicle that was directly in flight," said Dan Herbert, Perez's attorney.

Herbert said the charges are perplexing.

Perez is accused of "inattentive duty" for not identifying the right target and "providing false information" because Perez has never changed his story, even though, surveillance video, obtained by the Chicago Reader through the Freedom of Information Act, contradicts his version of events.

Tuesday was no different, Perez testified that he was aiming and shooting at the right vehicle -- a red car that was responsible for a drive-by that killed someone.

Chicago Police Department lawyers said Perez began shooting after the red car had fled.

Herbert believes his client is a hero.

"It was chaos, all victims and witnesses were running away from the scene. Frank Perez was running opposite way, taking police action to stop this individual who killed another person," Herbert said.

The police board hearings will continue on Wednesday.

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