Judge denies special prosecutor request for man fatally shot by CPD officer

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A judge denied a request for a special prosecutor in the cast of a Chicago police officer who shot an unarmed man in 2011. (WLS)

A judge denied a request for a special prosecutor in the cast of a Chicago police officer who shot an unarmed man in 2011.

The family of Flint Farmer asked the judge to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate whether criminal charges should be filed in his fatal shooting six years ago.

"I was hoping and praying for another outcome. I just really believed that the judge would side with us," Emmett Farmer, father, said.

Farmer filed the petition after his 29-year-old son was shot in the back three times and killed by then-CPD officer Gildaro Sierra in June of 2011 in an on-duty incident that was captured in party by a police squad car dashcam.

In his ruling Cook County Judge Leroy Martin, Jr., said, "I empathize with Mr. Farmer... I just had a difficult time find a reason to disqualify the State's Attorney... for the court to inject itself into that decision... I need to find a reason."

In the August motion, attorneys for the Farmer family claimed under Illinois' special prosecutor statute that an inherent conflict of interest exists when prosecutors investigate police-involved shootings.

"The court seems concerned that if he granted Section A-10 this time, then virtually every other police-involved shooting then that would be a possibility," said Jeanette Samuels, attorney for the Farmer family.

The Farmer shooting was Sierra's third, and second fatal shooting in a six-month period. He'd killed Darius Pinex in March 2011. Sierra could not be reached for comment.

Former State's Attorney Anita Alvarez declined to prosecute, as did Kim Foxx, who won election in 2016 as a reform candidate after criticizing the handling of police-involved shooting of Laquan McDonald.

Her office opposed the appointment of a special prosecutor in this case and in court filings said, "Since taking office, State's Attorney Foxx has concluded that any potential conflict is better mitigated by the types of practices and procedures rather than... handing off... cases to a special prosecutor."

In 2016 the Independent Police Review Authority determined the Farmer shooting unjustified, nearly a year after Sierra left the police department. And although an FBI investigation yielded no federal charges, Emmett Farmer is vowing not to give up his fight for justice for his son.

"I always believe it's not over until God says it's over, so I'm not going away," he said.

The State's Attorney's Office re-examined the shooting of Flint Farmer and determined there was still insufficient evidence to successfully maintain a criminal prosecution.

Former officer Sierra could not be reached for comment. The Farmer family plans to appeal the ruling.

Related Topics:
police-involved shootingofficer involved shootingfatal shootingman killedChicagoLoop
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