NBC Chicago reported that during a trial on Thursday, Eddie Johnson, Chicago’s Police Superintendent maintained that certain circumstances exist when shooting an escaping suspect in the back is fine.
Johnson was giving his testimony in a wrongful death trial regarding a fatal police shooting that occurred in 2013, the report said.
A wrongful death lawsuit was filed by the family of 17-year-old Christian Green, who was shot by Chicago Police officer Robert Gonzalez while fleeing. Victor Henderson, the Green family lawyer, asked Johnson during the trial if shooting a fleeing suspect was justifiable.
“Yes,” Johnson answered. “I have a constant reminder right here that someone can fire at you while they are running away,” he referred to the incident in 2005 in which he was shot by an armed, fleeing suspect.
Henderson then cited police reports that said the gun was found quite far – 75 feet – from Green’s body.
In an earlier interview with NBC 5, Henderson stated, “Any time anyone, male, female, black or white is fleeing and is shot in the back, that is cause for alarm.”
Chicago police insist that while running away from officers, Green tried to fling his gun in a garbage can. The gun missed the can and Green grabbed it from the ground and resumed his flight, police stated.
According to the Chicago Tribune, when Henderson asked the Superintendent if he would attempt to defend the officers involved in the case, Johnson said: “If a police officer is wrong, it’s my job to articulate that. The facts will guide my decision.”
Officer Gonzales is scheduled to testify on Friday.