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Judge acquits two Chicago police officers charged in 2022 shooting of unarmed man

Chicago police officers acquitted in 2022 shooting of unarmed man
Chicago police officers acquitted in 2022 shooting of unarmed man 02:49

CHICAGO (CBS)-- Two Chicago police officers have been acquitted of all charges in the shooting of an unarmed man last year in the Pilsen neighborhood.

Sgt. Christopher Liakopoulos and Officer Ruben Reynoso were found not guilty of felony charges of aggravated battery and official misconduct in the shooting of 23-year-old Miguel Medina on July 22, 2022, following a bench trial in Cook County.

Judge Lawrence Flood ruled Thursday there was probable cause for the officers to fire their weapons, and that "The officers are not the aggressors."

On the morning of July 22, 2022,  the two officers were headed to training at the police academy when they saw a group of masked individuals at 18th and Morgan.

Chicago police said a shootout ensued, but the Cook County State Attorney's Office later determined police fired first.

Surveillance video shows the two opening fire, leaving Medina seriously injured.

Prosecutors said Medina was walking with an armed teen when they were approached by officers in an unmarked car.

In court, Medina testified he thought the unmarked car was a group of gang members, so he put his hands up to show he was unarmed. He held a cell phone and wine bottle in one hand. 

The other hand was empty.

As the armed teen ran off, officers fired shots out of the patrol car. Medina was struck. 

The teen then fired, but no officers were hit. Police stated Medina and the teen fired first, but surveillance footage later contradicted their account of the shooting.

Nonetheless, Flood said there was probable cause for the officers to open fire.

"I'm amazed at the unbelieveable tone deafness of the Cook County State's Attorney's Office to not understand the plight of Chicago police officers that they're dealing with every single day on the streets," said Tim Grace, the attorney for Liakopoulos.

When asked to respond, State's Attorney Kim Foxx said, "We know that their job is increasingly difficult in times of increased scrutiny, however, we still have an affirmative obligation to hold those accountable who go afoul of the law."

Foxx said her office could not file charges against the armed teen who fired at Liakopoulos and Reynoso because the officers lied about what happened.

"The officers who were charged here today gave untruthful statements to the Cook County State's Attorney's Office," Foxx said. "The witnesses who would have been able to provide that information to allow us to charge that spoke to assistant state's attorneys in this office and gave testimony to our office that was not factual."

Attorneys for both officers said their clients were relieved as they were facing anywhere from six to 30 years in prison if they were found guilty.

CPD said Thursday that both officers were still relieved of their police powers and were not being paid. Their attorneys said the officers plan to seek backpay now that they've been acquitted.

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