2 Chicago Police officers face felony charges related to July shooting of unarmed man

Sep 17, 2022, 5:20 PM
Officer Ruben Reynoso and Sgt. Christopher Liakopoulos are seen here. (Cook County State's Attorney...
Officer Ruben Reynoso and Sgt. Christopher Liakopoulos are seen here. (Cook County State's Attorney)
(Cook County State's Attorney)

(CNN) — Two Chicago police officers have been charged with three felony offenses each in connection with an on-duty shooting of an unarmed man in July, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx said Friday.

The case against them turned on video surveillance that contradicted their statements to investigators about the incident in Pilsen, in the city’s Lower West Side.

Sgt. Christopher Liakopoulos, 43, and Officer Ruben Reynoso, 42, are each charged with aggravated battery with a firearm, the aggravated discharge of a firearm, and official misconduct, which are felonies punishable by up to 30 years in prison, Foxx said.

Liakopoulos and Reynoso, who have been relieved of their police powers, turned themselves in Thursday evening, Foxx said. They appeared at a bail hearing Friday and were ordered to pay a $25,000 bond and surrender their weapons, according to Foxx.

The man who was shot didn’t have a weapon, nor did he fire a weapon at the two officers, Foxx said.

According to Foxx, the 23-year-old victim sustained injuries and “has since recovered and is cooperating with authorities.”

The victim, Miguel Medina, on Friday filed a federal lawsuit against Liakopoulos and the city of Chicago.

His attorney, Gregory Kulis, said outside court that his client is “clearly innocent” of a crime. Medina was not a threat to officers when he was shot twice in the back and once in a leg, he said. The four-count complaint was filed against the officer they believe shot Medina, he said.

Kulis said his client was taken to the hospital for his wounds, but within a few hours police took him to question him. After he was released without charges, the attorney said, Medina was in pain and bleeding and returned to the hospital.

The Chicago city government did not respond to CNN’s request for comment on Medina’s lawsuit.


Surveillance video shows the shooting, prosecutors say


During their investigation, the Cook County state’s attorney office looked at surveillance video “and, based on that review of all of the evidence including that video, it is our position based on the facts, the evidence, and the law, that the officers involved in this incident did not have provocation or justification to shoot the unarmed victim during this incident,” Foxx said.

Statements the two made to investigators were “directly contradicted” by the videotape evidence. According to the state’s attorney, the video, which has not been released publicly, shows the officers firing their weapons before taking return fire.

After the bail hearing, Assistant State’s Attorney Alyssa Janicki read the prosecution’s statement filed with the court to reporters. Prosecutors say the two officers were in an unmarked car and headed to a police training course on the morning of July 22 when they saw a group of men walking. They stopped to ask them what they were doing outside a business that was closed, Janicki said. Earlier, Foxx said neither officer was wearing a body worn camera at the time.

Medina and a juvenile walked toward the police vehicle, she said, noting that the juvenile “wore a satchel crisscrossed across his body, which contained a firearm.” As they approached the defendants’ vehicle, the juvenile held onto the firearm. The victim, Medina, had a cellphone and a wine bottle in one hand and the other was empty. At some point the juvenile turned around and ran away while Medina continued to walk to the car, Janicki said.

When Medina reached the passenger’s side, he waved at the officers with his empty hand and displayed the cellphone and wine bottle in the other.

Then, the officers both fired “multiple shots” in Medina’s direction from inside the vehicle, striking him in the back and the leg. Medina fell to the ground.

The juvenile continued running across the street and then fired at the officers who responded by discharging their weapons, Janicki said.

A pedestrian suffered a graze wound in the leg during the incident, she said.

The officers were interviewed after the Chicago police department contacted her office seeking charges against the juvenile, Janicki said.

During the first interview, the officers told detectives they fired their weapons only after “they were fired upon by the juvenile.” In a second interview, they told a detective and an assistant state’s attorney they said they didn’t know who shot first but said the juvenile was pointing the gun at them before the gunfire started.

But several days after the shooting, Janicki said her office received surveillance video which contradicted what the defendants told the detectives. The video revealed that when “the defendants discharged their weapons at the victim, the victim was standing in the street near the open passenger window of the defendants’ vehicle with both of his hands visible, one hand empty and the other holding the cell phone and the wine bottle,” Janicki said, who added that the juvenile was seen running away from the vehicle.

Reynoso’s attorney Brian Sexton argued at the bail hearing it was unclear from the video that the officers fired first, according to CNN affiliate WBBM. CNN has reached out to Sexton and Liakopoulos’ attorney, Timothy Grace, for comment.


Foxx: We cannot ignore unprovoked violence


“The Cook County State’s Attorney’s office is committed to justice and fairness and that’s what brings us here today. We do not take this great responsibility lightly, nor do we celebrate in the charging of police officers,” Foxx said. “We support the hard working men and women of the Chicago Police Department, who like many law enforcement partners across Cook County, face dangers every day to keep us safe.”

“With regard to this particular case, we cannot ignore or stand by acts of unprovoked violence even at the hands of those who are sworn to serve and protect our communities,” Foxx added.

The two officers are members of the Chicago Police Department’s major accidents investigations unit. Liakopoulos has been with the department since 2001 and Reynoso has worked for the agency since 2003.

CNN reached out to the Chicago Police Department, which confirmed the officers have been relieved of police powers but didn’t comment on the specifics of the case.

In a video posted to YouTube, John Catanzara Jr., president of the Fraternal Order of Police Chicago Lodge 7 said, “Two of our officers were indicted by Kim Foxx for doing their job. An active gun battle with an armed offender, and they engaged him and fired rounds.” Catanzara did not respond to multiple requests for comment from CNN Friday.

Chicago’s Civilian Office of Police Accountability also is reviewing the incident. It is expected to publicly release the videos of the shooting next week. The officers’ attorneys have asked a judge to stop that video release, WBBM reported.

According to Foxx, the investigation related to the juvenile’s involvement is ongoing.

The-CNN-Wire™ & © 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories


The Sanderson sisters' "Hocus Pocus" cottage. Kathy Najimy said that she and her costars, Bette Mid...
Emmy Abbassi, CNN

Stay in the ‘Hocus Pocus’ house for only $31

The Sanderson sisters of "Hocus Pocus" fame are inviting guests to stay at their creepy cottage in the remote woods of Salem, Massachusetts, this Halloween season.
1 day ago
UVALDE, TEXAS - JUNE 17: The Robb Elementary School sign is seen covered in flowers and gifts on Ju...
Stella Chan and Alaa Elassar, CNN

Uvalde parents have filed a federal lawsuit against gun manufacturers, and others

Uvalde parents sue gun manufacturers and other entities.
1 day ago
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., September 2...
Paul R. La Monica, CNN Business

Dow plunges and is back in a bear market

The third quarter is about to end and investors are wishing the past nine months good riddance. Stocks fell Thursday, giving up Wednesday's big gains. The Dow was down almost 650 points, or 2.1%, in midday trading.
1 day ago
A wife and husband from Maryland have been charged with conspiring to provide the Russian governmen...
Holmes Lybrand

US Army doctor, anesthesiologist charged with conspiracy to provide medical records to Russia

A wife and husband from Maryland have been charged with conspiring to provide the Russian government with personal medical records from the U.S. government and military, according to a newly unsealed federal indictment.
1 day ago
CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 28: The Coolio set during Groovin The Moo 2019 on April 28, 2019 in Can...
Sandra Gonzalez, CNN

Coolio, ‘Gangsta’s Paradise’ rapper, dead at 59

Coolio, the '90s rapper who lit up the music charts with hits like "Gangsta's Paradise" and "Fantastic Voyage," has died.
2 days ago
Pictured here is Gulfshore Boulevard. (City of Naples via CNN)...
Caroll Alvarado and Christina Maxouris, CNN

Floating cars, submerged buildings, no power: Floridians describe Hurricane Ian

Hurricane Ian, which made landfall as a Category 4 storm a little after 3 p.m. Wednesday along Florida's southwestern coast, has been battering coastal communities for hours.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Ask these questions before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Cloud storage technology with 3d rendering drawer with files in cloud...
PC Laptops

How backing up your computer can help you relieve stress

Don't wait for something bad to happen before backing up your computer. Learn how to protect your data before disaster strikes.
young woman with stickers on laptop computer...
Les Olson

7 ways print marketing materials can boost your business

Custom print marketing materials are a great way to leave an impression on clients or customers. Read for a few ideas to spread the word about your product or company.
young woman throwing clothes to organize a walk in closet...
Lighting Design

How to organize your walk-in closet | 7 easy tips to streamline your storage today

Read our tips to learn how to organize your walk-in closet for more storage space. These seven easy tips can help you get the most out of your space.
Types of Computer Malware and Examples...
PC Laptops

5 Nasty Types of Computer Malware and Examples | Everything You Need to Know to Keep Your Computer and Family Safe

Here are the different types of computer malware and examples that could potentially infect your computer.
tips how to quit smoking...

7 Tips How to Quit Smoking | Quitting Smoking Might be One of the Hardest Things You Ever Do but Here’s Where You Can Start

Quitting smoking cigarettes can be incredibly difficult. Here are 7 tips how to quit smoking to help you on your quitting journey.
2 Chicago Police officers face felony charges related to July shooting of unarmed man