Serving Chicago For 18 Years

Jury Trial Set to Begin in Police-Shooting Case Involving Chicago Police Officer Firing Upon Vehicle Leaving Traffic Stop

For Immediate Release: January 30, 2018

Contact: Craig M. Sandberg, 833.726.3237, craig@sandberglaw.com

Chicago, IL – On January 4, 2011, at approximately 9:30 p.m., then 15-year old Derquann Wilson, who was a front-seat passenger in a vehicle, was shot and permanently injured by CPD Officer Sajit Walter (Star #11288) in the vicinity of West Roosevelt Road and South Kolin Avenue, in Chicago. As a result of being shot, Wilson was taken from the location in critical condition to Mount Sinai Hospital. According to his surgeon, Dr. Michele R. Holevar (Chief of the Trauma Division), Wilson was shot in the finger (“near amputation through the middle part of his left middle finger”), and had entrance wounds (1) in the right upper back ("It went through the middle lobe of his right lung. It went downward through the diaphragm and then it injured his liver...then the bullet lodged in the -- basically near the breast bone.”) and (2) in the palm of his left hand (“retained bullet in the base of his left thumb”). Two bullets were located inside the vehicle (front passenger seat and trunk).

While only Ofc. Walter fired upon the vehicle Wilson was riding in, he, along with Ofc. Jesse Cavazos (Star No. 14027), Ofc. Andrew Larson (Star No. 9552), and Ofc. Larry Stiles (Star No. 15304), members of Unit 153 a/k/a “the Mobile Strike Force” or “MSF”, curbed the vehicle Wilson was riding. relating to minor traffic infractions. The MSF is the rebranded Unit 153 that used to called the scandal-plagued Special Operations Section (“SOS”) of the Chicago Police Department. The SOS unit was ultimately disbanded after investigations by the Cook County State’s Attorney and criminal indictments of several SOS members. The MSF unit was active from October 31, 2008 thru August 18, 2011 and was headquartered on the third floor of Homan Square (i.e., SOS’s old HQ). Homan Square has been described by The Guardian as "a warehouse complex headquartering narcotics, vice and intelligence units for the Chicago police, [and] has also served as a secretive facility for detaining and interrogating thousands of people without providing access to attorneys and with little way for their loved ones to find them."

According to the driver of the vehicle, when Ofc. Walter approached the vehicle with the four (4) minors, he had his weapon out of his holster and aimed toward him (the driver). According to Ofc. Larson, the Chevy vehicle backed up into the front end of his vehicle and, then, drove forward and to the left---whereupon it exited onto westbound Roosevelt. While the vehicle drove off, Ofc. Walter fired his weapon at the occupants in the vehicle—Ofc. Walter discharged five (5) rounds from his Glock 22 .40 caliber semi-automatic pistol. Despite the fact that police academy recruits are not trained to shoot at subjects simply because they are trying to escape, Ofc. Walter shot at the occupants in the vehicle as it fled from the location it had been stopped—certainly after any perceived risk to Ofc. Walter had abated.

Notably, at the time of the incident, the Chicago Police Department ("CPD") did not provide its officer a body worn camera (“BWC”)  and, according to Ofc. Walter, MSF vehicles were never equipped with in-car video system (i.e., dashboard camera). The physical presence of video cameras has been shown to alter the behavior of individuals who are aware that they are under scrutiny.

Recently, the Chicago Tribune, in reporting on the federal prosecution (which led to the conviction) of former CPD officer, Marco Proano, quoted testimony of both Ofc. Vincent Jamison (firearms instructor at the Chicago Police Academy) and Sgt. Larry Snelling (Lead Instructor). Jason Meisner, Cops trained to shoot only as last resort, expert testifies at shooting trial, Chicago Tribune on-line (Aug. 24, 2017) (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-chicago-police-shooting-trial-marco-proano-met-0825-20170824-story.html) (last visited Jan. 30, 2018). Ofc. Jaimison testified that recruits are never to “point a gun at anything you aren’t willing to kill or destroy”. Sgt. Snelling testified, inter alia, that recruits are not trained to shoot at subjects because they are trying to escape.

Moreover, the Chicago Police Department General Order in effect at the time of this incident, G03-02-03 (Deadly Force), states that "[f]iring at or into a moving vehicle is only authorized to prevent death or great bodily harm to the sworn member or another person. When confronted with an oncoming vehicle and that vehicle is the only forced used against them, sworn members will move out of the vehicle's path."

Wilson had bullet wounds to the base of this left thumb with a retained bullet and a near amputation through the middle part of his left middle finger (from having his hands in the air Ofc. Walter was aiming his gun at his vehicle). Dr. Holevar was unable to say whether those injuries came from one or two bullets. Wilson, also, had a bullet wound entrance over his right upper back that went through the middle lobe of his right lung, travelled downward through the diaphragm, injured his liver, and, then, lodged near the breast bone. Wilson's medical bills exceeded $291,000.

The passenger in the right rear seat was, also, struck and injured by Ofc. Walter's bullets. This passenger sustained a through-and-through injury to his right knee (with residual small bullet fragments) and a comminuted displaced fracture of the proximal fibula with multiple bullet fragments adjacent to the fracture.

WHAT: Jury trial to begin in Derquann Wilson v. City of Chicago (Case No. 17 L 9552).

WHEN: Monday, February 5, 2018 at 10:00 a.m.

WHERE: Circuit Court of Cook County, Richard J. Daley Center, 50 West Washington Street, Courtroom 2005, Chicago, Illinois

Categories: Blog

For More Information

Fill out our online form