Chicago, IL – An expert witness for the city of Chicago testified that a police officer should not have chased a 15-year-old male carrying a pistol in an alley in an area of the city known for gang violence.
Michael Gennaco made his comments May 17 in a police board hearing in the case involving Officer Brendan Ternand, according to FOP blog The Watch.
Officer Ternand fatally shot Dakota Bright during a foot pursuit in a neighborhood known for gang violence on Nov. 8, 2012.
Gennaco works for OIR Group, which described Gennaco as “a nationally recognized expert on law enforcement reform and accountability systems.”
The Watch reported that Officer Ternand’s attorney questioned why the officer should not have chased an armed man wearing gang colors in a violent, gang-riddled neighborhood. "Isn’t that their job?" the attorneys asked on cross examination, according to The Watch blog.
Gennaco also said that Officer Ternand only fired once, which he said was suspicious. Most police officers fire at least two times in such situations, Gennaco said, according to The Watch.
The six-year old case is under review. The Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA), Chicago's civilian review board, found the shooting to be “unprovoked and unwarranted,” according to the Chicago Tribune.
IPRA has since been replaced by the Civilian Officer of Police Accountability.
IPRA concluded that Bright was not armed when he was shot in the back of the head although he ditched his gun while out of sight of officers.
Police recovered the .22 caliber revolver in a front yard near where the chase began, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson had cleared Officer Ternand of any wrongdoing, the Chicago Tribune reported.
The Cook County State’s Attorney reviewed the case in 2017 and looked at all the available evidence and stated there was no basis for criminal charges against Officer Ternand, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Officer Ternand is a 10-year-police veteran. He was stripped of police powers in October of 2017 and placed on paid desk duty until the disciplinary hearing was completed, according to the Chicago Tribune.
The Chicago police union is also angry about COPA’s decision that Officer Ternand’s shooting was unjustified. The Fraternal Order of Police said the Officer Ternand case as an example of what it calls “bogus, politically motivated investigations, arbitrarily punishing officers,” the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
Gennaco's employer, OIR Group, made headlines after the city of Phoenix hired them on a $45,000 no-bid contract to conduct a review of the police department's crowd control response when protesters started rioting at a speech by president Trump.
In a statement, Phoenix Councilman Sal DiCiccio said he opposed the review and called it a “witch hunt.”
He said “After the selfless AND HEROIC actions of our dedicated police officers WHO came under fire from a handful of radical left-wing PROTESTERS … Phoenix LEADERS have agreed to put an item in front of the council this week to bring in a radical, anti-police consulting firm to ‘review’ the actions of our officers.”
He was the only councilman to vote against the no-bid contract.
Critics said that if you pay a group of lawyers tens of thousands of dollars to find wrongdoing, they'll find wrongdoing no matter what.was the only councilman to oppose the review.