COPA releases video of off-duty CPD officer shooting unarmed man with developmental disabilities

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Civilian Office of Police Accountability has released video of a 2017 incident in which an off-duty Chicago police officer shot an unarmed man with developmental disabilities.

In documents released by COPA, Sergeant Khalil Muhammad said he was in imminent threat of battery by an armed man who was unresponsive to orders. But no weapon was ever recovered and the victim's attorney said the shooting was far from justified.

A home surveillance camera captured the violent encounter in which Muhammad opened fire from a pickup truck, wounding 18-year-old Ricardo Hayes in the chest and arm.

"Ricky wasn't doing anything wrong. He wasn't breaking any laws. He wasn't armed. He didn't initiate contact with this officer," said Gabriel Hardy, attorney for Ricky Hayes.

Hayes survived the shooting and has now filed a lawsuit.

In his federal complaint, Hayes is described as having "developmental disabilities" with "the cognitive level of a child" and "difficulty communicating."

Dashcam footage from another officer's car shows Hayes running in the city's Morgan Park neighborhood in the early morning of August 13, 2017.

Hayes eventually stops in front of a home and stands there as Muhammad rolls up in his unmarked personal vehicle. Second pass and the sergeant remains in the truck. But when Hayes slowly starts moving toward Muhammad, gunshots ring out.

The teen survived and was arrested by Muhammad, who called 911. In the background of the call Hayes can be heard screaming.

"I'm behind Morgan Park High School. I'm a (inaudible) sergeant of police. I need an ambulance right now," Muhammad says on the 911 call recording.

"What happened?" the operator asks.

"The guy pulled like he was about to pull a gun on me, walked up to the car, and I had to shoot," Muhammad answers.

In police reports, Muhammad said he was in danger of being battered and believed Hayes was armed. No weapon was recovered.

Hayes' attorney said his client was unarmed, running and skipping around his neighborhood.

"I was horrified and shocked by this video, and I think most everybody will be," Hardy said.

Fourteen months after the shooting, Khalil Muhammad remains with CPD, suspended with pay. He's had to give up his badge and gun.

The Illinois ACLU is calling for more officer training in how to deal with people with disabilities. ABC7 was not able to reach Sergeant Muhammad for comment. We did leave a message for the sergeants union but did not hear back.
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