A group of protesters gathered in Chicago Friday to call for the resignation or removal of Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez for her failure to criminally prosecute a Chicago police officer involved in several shootings.
In 2011, Officer Gildardo Sierra shot and killed Flint Farmer while responding to a domestic disturbance call allegedly involving the man. According to Cook County prosecutors, Sierra fired 16 shots, striking Farmer seven times, three of which hit him in the back. Though the City approved a $4.1 million settlement earlier this year in a civil lawsuit filed by Flint’s father Emmett, the State’s Attorney decided not to move forward with a criminal case.
Officer Sierra, who was placed on administrative duty after the shooting, allegedly believed that Farmer had a gun the night of the incident. Farmer however, only had a cell phone. Evidence from a patrol car’s dashboard camera showed that the three shots fired by Sierra hit Farmer in the back while he lay on his stomach, already wounded.
In a letter to Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy last week, Alvarez reportedly wrote, “Although Officer Sierra was mistaken in his belief that Flint Farmer had a gun, not every mistake demands the action of the criminal justice system, even when the results are tragic.”
Community activists are outraged by the decision. Calling Sierra a “serial killer police officer,” they pointed to two other shootings the officer was involved with, asking why he was allowed to remain on active duty. Both occurred within the six-month period prior to the Farmer’s shooting, and one of the incidents was fatal.
“He killed Darius Pinex in January of the same year,” said Emmett Farmer. “[He] shot another young man in March, was drinking before duty, and then killed my son. What other evidence do we need?”
Sierra acknowledged he had drank several beers before reporting to work on the day he shot Farmer, according to the Chicago Tribune, but prosecutors said there was no evidence of impairment at the time the shooting took place.
“I feel real bad. He should be fired,” said Farmer. "He shouldn’t have a job. He’s already shot two people and killed one before he killed my son.”
Here's a a look at the protest and more from Farmer:
Farmer and other community activists are calling for a federal investigation into the matter. In addition to demanding Alvarez resign or be booted from office, the activists also called on Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle to launch an impeachment investigation into the county State's Attorney if she fails to leave her post.
“The people of Cook County cannot tolerate such racist policies in the prosecutor’s office," said Frank Chapman, a field organizer for The Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression. "Anita Alvarez has proven herself to be delusional if she cannot see the record of Flint Farmer’s murder.”