More than six years after former Chicago Police Officer Gildardo Sierra shot and killed Flint Farmer, Farmer’s family wants a special prosecutor appointed to investigate the deadly incident.
Sierra shot Farmer in the back as the unarmed man fled from Sierra and his partner in June 2011, the second fatal shooting Sierra had been involved in during a six-month span.
Though Farmer was unarmed— and video evidence showed Sierra shooting Farmer even as Farmer lay on the ground— an investigation by the Independent Police Review Authority cleared Sierra in the shooting and the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, then under Anita Alvarez, declined to bring charges against Sierra.
But last year, after outcry over the Laquan McDonald shooting prompted Mayor Rahm Emanuel to reform IPRA, the agency reopened the case, concluding that the Farmer shooting was unjustified.
Lawyers for Farmer’s family say the State’s Attorney’s Office, now under Kim Foxx, has a conflict of interest when handling cases against police officers, pointing to a string of cases where CPD officers shot unarmed people and no charges were filed.
A spokesman for Foxx said the office is reviewing the petition for a special prosecutor. Lawyers for Farmer’s family will appear before Chief Criminal Court Judge LeRoy Martin Jr. on Friday morning to argue their case.
Farmer’s family already has settled a lawsuit against the city for $4.1 million, but Farmer’s father, Emmett Farmer, has said he wanted to see criminal charges brought against Sierra, who admitted to downing several beers before starting his shift the night of the shooting.
Earlier in 2011, Sierra and his partner were also involved in a shooting that claimed the life of Darius Pinex and left another man wounded. IPRA found Sierra fired multiple times but didn’t strike either man.
Sierra resigned from the Chicago Police Department in 2015.