Jury Orders Chicago to Pay $44.7M for Officer Shooting
36-year-old Chicago police officer Patrick Kelly was removed from the Chicago streets just last month even though he shot fellow officer Mike LaPorta in the head back in 2010. According to the case, on Jan. 12, 2010, Kelly who was off-duty at the time called 911 to report LaPorta had just committed suicide with a gunshot to the head. Yes LaPorta did suffer a gunshot through his brain, but he managed to survive the injury. After spending months in a coma he is now only able to get around by a wheelchair, unable to read and barely able to speak. LaPorta reported to his family that it was actually Kelly who had shot him.
No criminal charges were ever filed against Kelly in the case, but a federal jury in Chicago found last month that by allowing Kelly to remain an officer Chicago police failed to implement an early warning system for its officers. A system that is designed to detect troubled officers and either retrain them or release them. In addition to the shooting Kelly received 19 citizen complaints in the first six years he was on the streets without any action taken. Because of this inaction, the federal jury has ordered the city to pay LaPorta $44.7 million.
Kelly is also currently facing charges for an on-duty shooting in 2014 where Kelly and another officer shot a man eight times in the back and buttocks that killed him, the lawsuit stated. Yet Kelly remains a Chicago police officer. The verdict of $44.7 million to LaPorta is believed to be one of the largest ever against the Chicago Police Department. The department currently has an early warning system for troubled officers the problem has just been the use and disciplinary nature of it. In Chicago police do not investigate complaints against other officers, they’re referred to the Independent Police Review Authority. This leads to a “code of silence” in the workforce, a silence that needs to be broken.