Chicago police officer who fatally shot Gresham man had been suspended in past, documents show

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Saturday, November 6, 2021
CPD officer who shot Michael Craig had been suspended in past
The Chicago police officer who shot a man who had called police for help after he was attacked by his wife had been suspended in the past, records show.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Chicago police officer who shot and killed Gresham man Michael Craig had been suspended in the past, documents show.

The documents reveal the officer was suspended in 2019 for actions that included threatening a fellow cop, and that the suspension lasted about three months. The officer was reinstated after seeking treatment for a drinking problem.

ABC7 is not naming the officer because he is not yet charged with anything.

Craig, 61, had called police to report his wife had attacked him with a knife on the morning of Oct. 4. Two 911 calls were placed about a domestic disturbance between Craig and his wife that day.

READ MORE: Body camera footage released of deadly police shooting of Michael Craig during domestic disturbance

Craig had told his young son to ask a neighbor for help. That neighbor made the first call.

The second call was from Craig himself, saying his wife was attacking him with a knife.

"Hello? I need the police here. My wife got a knife on me," Craig said on the call. "She got a knife on my throat and I can't move. She gonna kill me."

Bodycam video shows an officer walking up the stairs to Craig's apartment. He took out his Taser. Screams are heard and the officer also drew his firearm. A man and woman are seen fighting in the apartment.

Both the Taser and the gun are fired, hitting Craig. He goes down and a second shot is fired. Officers repeatedly check the woman for injuries, but she does not respond while Craig lays dying.

While the shooting happened last month, the information about the officer's past just now came to lightl

"All I see now is a cover-up by the Chicago Police Department," said Michael Oppenheimer, Craig's attorney. "This should have been announced immediately. They've been notoriously quiet. So is the mayor on this case. And now we have to found out and bring it to the public?"

In 2018, nearly three years before the fatal shooting in Gresham last month, then-CPD superintendent Eddie Johnson recommended the officer be fired after he was arrested in March 2016 for threatening a fellow officer and tampering with paperwork in a squad car.

According to police board documents, the officer was drunk while off-duty when he caused an early morning disturbance, and once arrested he refused a required breathalyzer test.

After he sought treatment for alcoholism, the officer had been back on the street for nearly two years when he shot and killed Craig, who indicated to responding officers that he was the victim of domestic violence.

"The Chicago Police Department has victimized Michael Craig yet again," Oppenheimer said.

COPA is still investigating the incident and the Cook County State's Attorney's Office said the shooting is under review by prosecutors in the Law Enforcement Accountability Division. The officer remains on administrative duties.