CHICAGO (CBS) — More details have been released about the man who held an East Chicago man at gunpoint in Bridgeport. The victim is calling the incident a hate crime. CBS 2’s Roseanne Tellez reports more questions have been raised surrounding how the incident was handled.
The man holding the gun, now identified as a Chicago firefighter, may have thought he was holding a criminal. However, he was the one who may have been breaking the law.
CBS 2 is not naming the fireman because he has not been charged. CBS 2 first talked to Jermayne Smith after the incident in Bridgeport. Smith says the man confronted him on the sidewalk with a gun as Smith was running a work-related errand.
Smith says he was surprised to learn that the man who held him at gun point is a Chicago fireman and the son of a Chicago Police officer.
“He identified himself as a police officer and said, ‘Get on the ground. What are you doing in the neighborhood? Get on the ground before I shoot you,’” Smith recalled.
Police radio confirmed the man had a gun.
“John’s calling in, caller says he has a gun and he caught a guy breaking into his vehicle. He’s holding him at that location. He’s got a concealed carry,” the radio report indicated.
Smith says police arrived on the scene and placed him in handcuffs as officers talked with the man with the gun.
“Police officers actually asked him, ‘did I touch the car?’ and he said no,” Smith said.
Officers told Smith the whole incident was a misunderstanding and both men were free to go.
The police incident report makes no mention of the gun or the identity of the gunman, but instead referred to him as a “victim that caught someone breaking into his vehicle. No report or arrest was made.”
Jermayne Smith’s grandmother, Brenda Smith, believes police are protecting one of their own.
“They did him a favor. They wanted to sweep it up under the carpet,” she said.
The Smiths filed a victim information notice last week at the 9th Police District and a complaint with the Civilian Office of Police Accountability. They say now that they know the man’s name and will pursue charges.
“We’re not just gonna sit back and let them do this,” Smith’s grandmother said. “I could have been making funeral arrangements and I thank God that he’s able to tell his story.”
The firefighter could lose his FOID card and concealed carry permit and possibly face charges of impersonating a police officer.
The Chicago Fire Department has not returned CBS 2’s request for a statement.
The Chicago Police Department says they have assigned a detective to this case.