Jury foreman Dave Fitzsimmons told the Tribune that jurors believed the shooting wasn’t justified and didn’t think their answer to the special interrogatory would negate the verdict.
In a chaotic finish to a high-profile trial, a judge first announced that a jury had found that a Chicago police officer unjustifiably shot and killed a bat-wielding teen, then wiped away the verdict and the $1 million award to the teen’s family after noting that jurors had also found that the officer reasonably feared for his life when he fired
As the Tribune notes in that article, there was an earlier case with similar confusion:
The situation echoed at least one other case in Cook County over a shooting by Chicago police. In 2015, a jury found that an officer shot and killed a 19-year-old man without justification and awarded $3.5 million in damages. In that case, however, the jury also answered a special interrogatory and said the officer believed his life was in danger when he fired. The judge wiped away the verdict, but the Illinois Appellate Court overturned her decision and reinstated the award in February.
That earlier decision was reversed in February 2018, when the Illinois Appellate Court affirmed the jury verdict.
There are quite a few CPD pattern and practice-type stories in the news today:
1. Verdict for ousted investigator:
Davis had alleged in a lawsuit that he was fired because he refused to change his findings in controversial police cases. After eight days of testimony and at least 19 witnesses, the jury awarded him $800,000 in back pay, and $2 million for emotional distress.
2. The city is refusing to turn over records regarding the shooting death of a juvenile:
Cook County Circuit Court judge has blasted a decision by attorneys for the city of Chicago in their refusal to release records detailing how Chicago police officers shot and killed a 16-year-old.
3. The trial of an officer for another shooting continues.
There’s this story from 1991…
Without the confession, the case in many instances will never get to court. Homicide victims can’t testify, and other witnesses, out of fondness for or fear of the killer, tend to forget what they saw. Often killers only have to clam up to avoid prison.
But to Kato they talk. How he gets them to is the subject of fierce and frequent debate in courtrooms and jury rooms at 26th and California.
…and this one from 2018:
Many say that defendants who had confessed have no other choice but to accuse police of coercing them — and Kato was an easy target.
For what it’s worth, Chicago has been claiming that people who are arrested make up stories of police torture for nearly a century now.