CHICAGO (CBS/CNN) — The Civilian Office of Police Accountability on Monday called for the firing of Officer Saharat Sampim, claiming he made false statements about 19-year-old Roshad McIntosh having a gun before another officer shot and killed McIntosh in 2014.
At the time of the August 2014 incident, police initially reported that they were called to a complaint of armed men in the 2800 block of West Polk Street in North Lawndale and that a man ran from officers and then took a gun out of his waistband and pointed it at an officer.
COPA documents say Officer Sampim claimed to see a man in a dark shirt “with his arm extending with a silver pistol” before Officer Robert Slechter shot McIntosh, and also claimed he saw McIntosh in a backyard with a gun in his hand aimed at Slechter.
At the time, an investigation of McIntosh’s death by COPA’s predecessor organization, the Independent Police Review Authority, found his shooting was straightforward. An officer said McIntosh pointed a gun at him. The officer fired three shots, killing McIntosh. The review authority found the shooting to be justified or “within policy,” and the case was closed by the agency in October 2015.
The review authority did not recommend any disciplinary action against any officer involved, and the Cook County State Attorney did not file criminal charges.
But McIntosh’s mother, Cynthia Lane, filed a wrongful death lawsuit in federal court against the City of Chicago and some of the officers involved in 2015, claiming McIntosh was unarmed at the time he was shot. Attorney Sarah Gelsomino said witnesses have claimed police planted a gun on McIntosh after the fatal shooting.
COPA ruled Monday that Sampim’s statements about seeing McIntosh with a gun were not true and ruled he should be discharged for making a false report.
COPA ruled that Sampim’s statements about seeing McIntosh pointing the gun “could not be reasonably attributed to a mistake of perception, timing, or memory and recommended separation from the Department.”
“An officer’s credibility and integrity are fundamental to the performance of their sworn duty,” COPA Chief Administrator Sydney Roberts said in a news release. “We are in a critical time in our city and truthfulness must be evident when an officer is providing statements of what is witnessed, the officer’s actions and those actions taken by fellow officers.”
The matter now goes to the Chicago Police Board, with an initial status hearing coming up on Wednesday.
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