No Criminal Charges for Chicago Cop in Fatal Shooting of Ronald Johnson


There will be no criminal charges filed against the Chicago police officer who fatally shot Ronald Johnson III, Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez announced Monday, the Chicago Tribune reports.


Citing dash-cam footage, which Alvarez played at a news conference announcing her decision, along with a sample of 911 recordings, the state's attorney called Police Officer George Hernandez's actions "reasonable and permissible," adding that the footage shows Johnson with a gun. 

According to the Tribune, Assistant U.S. Attorney Lyne McCarthy said that the office sent the footage to an FBI laboratory to try to secure visual proof that Johnson was armed before he was shot. 

After Johnson went down, officers reported observing a weapon in his hand, McCarthy said, a weapon that was loaded with 12 live rounds and connected to a 2013 shooting. Alvarez added that the FBI decided against stepping in with the investigation after viewing the footage twice. 

Johnson's shooting death has been compared to that of Laquan McDonald, who was gunned down by an officer just eight days after Johnson. However, one big difference in the two cases had been the allegations that Johnson was armed with a gun.

Johnson, who was also known as "Ronnieman," was in a car with friends when the back window was shot out by an unknown assailant. Officers contended that Johnson resisted arrest the night of his death, reportedly running from officers who were responding to a call of shots fired. 

Michael Oppenheimer, an attorney representing Johnson's mother, Dorothy Holmes, said that Officer Hernandez pulled up in an unmarked squad car and, within seconds of jumping out of the vehicle in pursuit, fired five times at Johnson, who was running, hitting him in the back of the knee and in the shoulder, the Tribune notes. An autopsy showed that the shoulder injury was fatal, having traveled through Johnson's shoulder, severing his jugular vein, before exiting through his eye socket. 


As for the weapon that Johnson is said to have had on him, Oppenheimer countered that police planted the weapon on the 25-year-old. 

"There was nothing in his hand, not a gun, a cellphone, a bottle of water—nothing," Oppenheimer said, emphasizing that the car from which the footage was taken began to move moments after Johnson went down in the parkway, so officers' actions immediately after the shooting were not captured. Officers reported that they found a pistol in Johnson's right hand, which Oppenheimer said was completely missing from the footage. 


Read more at the Chicago Tribune