An Amtrak police officer was ordered held on $250,000 bail Friday and charged in the Feb. 8 shooting death of an unarmed Minneapolis man outside of Chicago’s Union Station.
The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office said that LaRoyce Tankson, 31, is charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of 25-year-old Chad Robertson, who died Wednesday, ABC News reports.
From ABC News:
Robertson was taking a bus from Memphis, Tennessee, to Minneapolis and was on a stopover in Chicago when the shooting occurred. Robertson and two friends went to Union Station to stay warm while they waited for their onward bus. But two officers confronted them, so the three friends got up to leave, according to Robertson’s sister, Nina Robertson,.
The officers confronted them again outside the station and accused one of them of smoking marijuana. An officer searched the men and when he put his hands in Robertson’s pockets, he ran, the sister said. That’s when one of the officers opened fire. Chicago police say they found cash and narcotics on Robertson, but no weapon.
DNAinfo Chicago reports that Tankson pulled his gun, crouched down and fired a single shot at Robertson, hitting him in the shoulder. Robertson fell to the ground, motionless, and died from his wound a week later.
Both Robertson and Tankson, the officer who shot him, are black.
Will Fahy, Tankson’s attorney, said Friday that Tankson saw Robertson turn and reach for what the officer thought was a gun, and Tankson “reasonably believed he was about to be shot.”
Outside of court Friday, Robertson’s family told ABC News that they were upset with the bail amount set by the Cook County judge.
“It should have been millions,” Robertson’s father, Leroy Taylor, said. “I think that’s ridiculous that they let him out for so little money when he murdered my son. My son ran away. He did not stop and turn around. Why would he stop and turn if he was running? ... [Tankson] killed my son, and he should be in jail.”
On Tuesday, an attorney for Robertson’s family filed a federal lawsuit against the then-unknown officer and Amtrak seeking compensatory and punitive damages for the shooting.
According to the lawsuit, Robertson “feared for his life.” Tankson and another officer are described in the lawsuit as disrespectful and aggressive, and both are said to have used profanity.
The lawsuit alleges that Tankson never issued any commands before firing his weapon, only saying, “It’s a gun out. It’s a gun out.”
Amtrak has put the officers involved on administrative assignment and has said that they are cooperating with Chicago police and prosecutors, but would not provide any further comment.
Minneapolis civil rights activist Mel Reeves said that the charges filed against the officer indicate “something went severely wrong that night. That clearly the officer had no reason to shoot Chad Robertson.”