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In Reversal, Supt. Eddie Johnson Now Says Cop Who Shot Friend Should Be Fired

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Chicago police officer Patrick Kelly should be fired for shooting his friend and lying about it, Police Supt. Eddie Johnson has ruled, in a reversal of a decision the superintendent made last December.

"On January 12, 2010, Officer Patrick Kelly, Star No. 19397, discharged his firearm in the direction of Michael LaPorta without justification," according to a document signed by Johnosn, and obtained by the CBS 2 Investigators. "The Superintendent recommends that Police Officer Patrick Kelly ... be discharged from the Chicago Police Department."

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A report by the Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA) last month found that Kelly likely shot his friend Michael LaPorta after a night of drinking.  COPA recommended the officer be fired.

A December 2018, response from Johnson says, "Officer Kelly and the Department settled and resolved all issues regarding the allegations arising from the shooting of [Michael LaPorta] ... and any further discipline is now barred by the prohibition against double punishment.

"As such the Department concurs with the factual findings with respect to the alleged conduct, but does not concur with COPA's recommended penalty of separation."

This latest document reverses that decision. This recommendation now goes to the Chicago Police Board, which must hold evidentiary hearings before deciding whether to fire Kelly. This case is scheduled for an initial status hearing before a hearing officer on Nov. 7.

Kelly had been given a 60-day suspension related to alcohol issues from that night.

It has been a long fight for justice for LaPorta, who was shot in the head almost 10 years ago. Kelly reported it as a suicide attempt, and that's how police investigated.

CBS 2 Investigator Dave Savini has been investigating this case for years, and was the first to report on the Civilian Office of Police Accountability's finding that it was actually Kelly who shot LaPorta, and then tried to cover it up.

Kelly was pulled to work on desk duty in 2017, but he has still been paid as an officer all along.

Kelly and LaPorta had been out drinking the night LaPorta suffered the near-fatal wound.

CBS 2 obtained a 74-page report, in which COPA says evidence showed Kelly pulled the trigger and then "gave false statements" to detectives investigating the shooting – trying to make it look like a suicide attempt. The report was finalized at the end of June.

LaPorta suffered a traumatic brain injury and spent two months in the hospital and two more at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. He was unable to speak and thus could not provide an account of what happened until he regained consciousness, the report said.

His mother, Patti LaPorta, told the CBS 2 Investigators "What's the right thing to do? The right thing to do: We get justice. He gets criminal charges."

Patti LaPorta issued a statement Monday night: "While our family is pleased with Superintendent Johnson's decision to finally recommend terminating Patrick Kelly from the police department, more needs to be done. This man shot my son nearly a decade ago and has faced no repercussions for his actions since. Instead, the city has continued to drag our family through a lengthy appeals process despite a jury saying nearly two years ago that Kelly shot my son - denying Mikey the justice he deserves and ensuring he lives out his life with the medical care he requires."

Meanwhile, the Cook County State's Attorney's office said: "We cannot confirm or deny an investigation."

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