23:09 GMT +314 November 2018
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    Video Shows Chicago Cop Shooting Unarmed, Autistic Teen

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    The Chicago Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA) released footage on Wednesday of an officer shooting an unarmed autistic man in 2017.

    In total, seven videos and four audio files surrounding Chicago Police Department (CPD) Sergeant Khalil Muhammad's shooting of Ricardo "Ricky" Hayes in August 2017 were released.

    Security footage from a home near the shooting shows Hayes — who suffers from both schizophrenia and autism — running down the sidewalk. The officer, who was allegedly off-duty at the time, stops his SUV — which doesn't appear to belong to the department — in the middle of the street. Within four seconds, shots ring out as Hayes takes a few steps towards the vehicle, which was a distance away from him.

    After being shot, Hayes runs away. He was eventually apprehended and treated for non-life-threatening injuries to his chest and arm.

    The videos were not initially released because Hayes, who was 18 at the time of the shooting, was considered a minor due to his mental capacity. His caretaker had reported him missing just hours before the shooting.

    A lawsuit filed on Hayes' behalf against Muhammad and the city of Chicago states that he "functions at the cognitive level of a child, and he has difficulty communicating. Ricky looks much younger than his age, and his disabilities are immediately recognizable." 

    In a statement following the shooting, police initially said that Hayes and Muhammad got into an "armed confrontation," although officials later conceded that no weapons were recovered from the scene.

    "The guy, like, he was about to pull a gun. Walked up to the car, and I had to shoot," Muhammad said in one of the released recordings.

    The officer was stripped of his police powers after the shooting. CPD policy dictates that an officer involved in a shooting automatically gets 30 days on desk duty, but Muhammad is still on administrative leave as of Tuesday, pending an investigation by COPA, according to police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi.

    Muhammad has not been charged with any criminal offenses.

    The officer had been with the department for some 17 years at the time of the shooting and had been the subject of eight misconduct complaints throughout his tenure, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

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    Chicago Police Department, Black Lives Matter, Police Abuse, Police Misconduct, police brutality
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