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Chicago cop found at fault in fatal shooting has history of lawsuits, complaints

Jeremy Gorner, Chicago Tribune on

Published in News & Features

CHICAGO -- A Chicago police officer found at fault by the city's police watchdog for a teenager's fatal shooting in 2012 fired at suspects in two other incidents, was involved in more than half a dozen lawsuits and had about 25 complaints filed against him, records show.

Over a recent four-year period, Officer Brandon Ternand was among about a dozen officers who had amassed the most complaints within the 12,000-strong police force.

In its ruling, the Independent Police Review Authority called the officer's shooting of 15-year-old Dakota Bright in the back of the head during a foot chase "unprovoked and unwarranted."

On learning of the IPRA's findings, a spokeswoman for Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx said the office would take another look at the shooting. In 2013, the office, then led by State's Attorney Anita Alvarez, decided not to prosecute the officer.

"In light of IPRA's recently released report, the Office plans to review the case to ensure that the matter has been thoroughly reviewed in light of all available information," Foxx's spokeswoman, Tandra Simonton, said in an emailed statement.

Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said Ternand, a 10-year veteran, remains on active duty while the department reviews the IPRA's findings.

 

Ternand declined to comment, but a statement issued by the head of the police union that represents rank-and-file officers said the IPRA's findings were politically motivated and questioned the competence of its investigators.

"We believe the decision by IPRA to rule this incident unjustified is certainly arbitrary, based more on political considerations than the rule of evidence," said Fraternal Order of Police President Kevin Graham. "A gun was recovered. This incident also cries out for the fact that IPRA should have personnel qualified to conduct shooting investigations, which it currently does not have."

The IPRA did not identify the officer, citing union contract prohibitions, but other records obtained by the Chicago Tribune through Freedom of Information Act requests show Ternand shot Bright in the South Side's Park Manor neighborhood on the afternoon of Nov. 8, 2012.

The IPRA report said that Bright was not armed when he was shot but may have tossed a gun during the chase. Officers found a .22-caliber revolver in a front yard near where the chase began, IPRA said.

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