Family of man killed in police shooting wants charges

November 2, 2011 (CHICAGO)

Flint Farmer, 29, was shot as he ran from police in June. His family says a police video shows the officer fired after Farmer was down.

Early on June 7, 2011, Farmer was killed by police responding to a domestic disturbance at 58th and Honore on the South Side. The police report says Farmer was shot 16 times by Officer Gildardo Sierra, a veteran who earlier this year was involved in two other shootings.

The Independent Police Review Authority is investigating the case.

The questions is, was it a police officer fearing for his life and just carrying out his duties? Or a trigger-happy cop who murdered a man who was no threat, had a cell phone in his hand and not a weapon when he feared for his life and attempted to escape police called to a domestic disturbance in a tough neighborhood?

Farmer's father wants the officer charged with murder.

"It is no doubt that he was just out to kill someone," said Emmet Farmer, father.

Farmer said his son had recently lost his job, but the father of a 2-year-old was a good man.

"He was an excellent father and an excellent son," said Emmet Farmer.

Protesters who want answers in the case marched Wednesday from Daley Plaza in the Loop to the offices of Cook County state's attorney Anita Alvarez. Her office invited the protesters upstairs, where they were apparently met by staff who then said Alvarez was not available.

"I don't think we got too far today, but we are taking steps," said Carolyn Farmer, mother.

Alvarez's office says she has "a clear record of aggressively investigating allegations of police misconduct and bringing charges against officers when appropriate."

The Independent Police Review Authority, which investigates Chicago police-involved shootings, said the Farmer investigation isn't over and does not support the release of police dash-cam video circulating on the Internet that purports to show Officer Sierra shooting a prone Farmer in the back at least three times.

Police accountability expert Craig Futterman, a professor at the University of Chicago Law School, says Chicago police must better track officers involved in multiple shootings

"It's great that Supt. McCarthy took this guy off the street, but the issue is that if they had a system that actually proactively looked for patterns of abuse before, they would have taken this guy off the street long before," said Futterman.

IPRA head Ilana Roszenweig said her office is concerned whether the shooting "was in compliance with criminal law," and has enlisted the help of the FBI in its investigation. She said release of the dash-cam video has the potential to affect "the integrity of the investigation of the prosecuting agency" and "could interfere with any possible criminal prosecution."

The police union says the video does not tell the whole story about what happened that night.

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