Chicago Cops Shoot Wrong Man - 11 Times
CHICAGO (CN) - Chicago police shot a store owner 11 times after armed gunmen robbed him, then handcuffed him to his hospital bed and harassed him to cover up their "gross misconduct," the businessman claims in court.
Bassil Abdelal sued Chicago and two Officer Does in Federal Court, for excessive force, false imprisonment, assault and battery, wanton conduct, conspiracy, civil rights violations and negligence.
"The City of Chicago followed its 'code of silence' to protect and cover up the gross misconduct of Officer Doe 1 and Officer Doe 2 who fired eleven bullets into plaintiff, who was unarmed, did not aim any gun at the police, did not fire at the police, and posed no threat to the police," Abdelal says in the complaint.
Abdelal owns B&B Beauty Supply, on the West Side of Chicago.
He was closing for the night at about 8:30 on March 14, 2012, when "a man knocked at the door and wanted to make a purchase," the complaint states.
It continues: "The plaintiff tried to hand him the merchandise he wanted without letting him inside, but the man ran away. Plaintiff believes that it was a set up for plaintiff just to unlock the door.
"Shortly thereafter, the man that ran away came back with a mask on his face along with two other masked men, who stormed in the store. Two of the three masked robbers pointed guns at plaintiff and then they put a gun to his head and his father-in-law's head to try to knock them down and coerce them into doing what the robbers wanted."
The robbers forced Abdelal to open the register, which contained only $160.
"The robbers were upset as they expected much more than that," the complaint states. "They started screaming 'give more money or you be dead.' Plaintiff told them that the money was at the back of the store in the washroom. Before the robbers went to get the money from the washroom one of the robber's cell phones rang. They answered and they were informed that the police were coming, based on belief, by a getaway driver, as apparently somebody called from the nearby Green line CTA station.
"The robbers got scared and panicked, running in the store with a lot of anger. The plaintiff was very afraid that the robbers would shoot plaintiff and Aruri [his father-in-law] at any time because the robbers were angry that their plan did not work as planned. The robbers ran away when they heard police arrive and plaintiff saw one of the robbers drop their guns inside the store. The plaintiff stepped out of the door to see where the robbers were going so he could report it to the police.
"The plaintiff saw a gun at the front of the door outside. The plaintiff picked it up for protection until the police arrived because he was terrified that the robbers would return and come back for him from the side or anywhere. The plaintiff was standing right by the front door with the door open, half of his body inside and the other half outside. The plaintiff saw the police arriving in the parking lot outside the store. Feel[ing] relieved that the police were present for protection, he immediately threw the gun down to the ground and did not point it at anyone.
"After the police saw plaintiff drop the gun to the floor, they opened fire at him and shot plaintiff in his leg. The plaintiff ran back in side and was screaming, 'Don't shoot; I am the store owner.' The police kept on shooting even when plaintiff was lying inside because plaintiff had been already been shot in the leg. At no time did the police ever warn the plaintiff to point his hands up and/or lie on the ground or else they would shoot. In the process of shooting the plaintiff repeatedly, the police also shot out the glass in the store windows and glass door, causing substantial property damage.
"Plaintiff was shot and seriously wounded with 11 bullets to his hands, shoulder, legs, and hips. One bullet almost his plaintiff's head but it passed by plaintiff's head and hit the cash register. Plaintiff was bleeding profusely. Aruri was very scared and thought that plaintiff would die. Aruri ran to get something to wrap plaintiff's leg because it was shooting blood everywhere. The police ran into the store and the plaintiff lying down in a pool of blood asked them, in an extremely weak state, why they shot the owner. The police did not answer, did [not] give any care, and they stopped Aruri from even touching Abdelal and providing care.
Abdelal claims that "the police also shot and wounded all three robbers who fled from the store but who were nowhere near and away from the store at a later time after shooting the plaintiff even though the robbers did not have any guns on their persons when shot and never pointed any guns at the police since they had been dropped in the store and right outside the store before the police arrived."
Abdelal says Chicago police would not allow his father-in-law to stanch his bleeding leg, but handcuffed and questioned him in the ambulance and at the hospital about the gun.
"At no time did the plaintiff ever point a gun at the police or robbers, ever shoot a bullet at the police or robbers, ever own a gun, ever chase the robbers, or ever try hurt anyone. The plaintiff saw that the robbers who fled also never aimed a gun or fired any guns at the police while fleeing from the store. In fact, he saw them drop their guns while fleeing. Plaintiff's only concern was to protect himself and survive until help arrived," the complaint states.
"The plaintiff sustained serious gunshot wound injuries that caused permanent harm to the plaintiff as they required screws and a metal rod to be inserted in his left leg.
"The City of Chicago, by and through its agents and officers, tried to cover up and hide the fact that they shot the wrong person and that they used excessive deadly force against plaintiff who did not pose any threat to them."
He adds: "The next morning at the hospital at 4:00 am, while plaintiff was resting and lying in bed while heavily medicated, Chicago police came and handcuffed the plaintiff to the bed arms who was trying to rest from the pain from all bullets lodged his body. [Sic.] The police knew or had reason to know that the plaintiff was a victim of a crime given he was the store owner and had been held at gunpoint by three robbers which the police had shot beforehand.
"Throughout the entire week, detectives came back and forth asking plaintiff and his family questions even though they knew plaintiff could not talk coherently or know what medications the plaintiff was taking at the hospital."
Abdelal claims that the Chicago Tribune falsely reported the next day that the officers responded to gunfire at his store. But he says, "there had been no gunfire that occurred other than the police gunfire."
The Tribune is not a party to the complaint.
Abdelal seeks punitive damages of more than $10 million.
He is represented by Justin London.