Shooting of off-duty Chicago firefighter by police heads to court

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The use of deadly force by several Chicago police officers is about to go on trial in federal court, but it's an unusual case where the victim was an off-duty firefighter who survived.

The long-time Chicago fireman survived although he was definitely in the police kill zone. There were 40 shots fired at him by numerous officers when this happened, a barrage that he calls excessive force.

On Monday, in federal court, a jury will be selected to determine whether that level of force was reasonable.

Chicago firefighters and Chicago police work for the same city and frequently side-by-side.

But on July 11, 2013, when off-duty firefighter Philip Giuffre squared off with a half-dozen Chicago police officers the encounter was not collegial.

The police fired 40 shots after they say he appeared to point a weapon at them. It happened in a store parking lot in the Mount Greenwood neighborhood. Giuffre was hit 14 times but survived and has endured numerous surgeries.

The off-duty fireman was holding his wallet. No gun was found.

On Monday, Giuffre's lawsuit will be called in federal court asking for at least $1.5 million in damages, claiming the officers, four women and two men, used excessive and unreasonable force.

According to the federal complaint Giuffre "was on his cell phone at the time. Several police officers pulled into the lot and ordered him to get off the phone and exit the vehicle." He then "grabbed his badge and exited the vehicle as ordered by the police... and showed his badge."

Officers began firing their weapons and continued to shoot say Giuffre's attorneys who contend that use of deadly force was excessive and unreasonable.

Officers are expected to argue that they were responding to a suicidal person call and that the off-the-clock firefighter was in a shooting stance and holding a dark object in his hand in the early afternoon outside a CVS Pharmacy at 103rd Street and Pulaski Avenue.

Giuffre's attorney says he wasn't suicidal, was about to leave on vacation and had just been approved for city disability pension after a back injury.

Giuffre's attorneys say the former firefighter has disfigurement and painful permanent injuries from being shot 14 times by police, along with loss of income, enjoyment of life, fear, emotional distress and anxiety. The six officers are being represented by city attorneys.

Read the full federal complaint here. null
Copyright © 2019 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.