Attorneys for a Chicago motorist who was shot dead by two Chicago police officers in 2011 said on Tuesday that the officers lied under oath when they claimed they had a legal justification to pull over his vehicle.
Officer Raoul Mosqueda of the Chicago Police Department testified that he and Officer Gildardo Sierra pulled over 27-year-old South Side resident Darius Pinex on Jan. 7, 2011, because his Oldsmobile Auroroa matched the description of a car involved in a shooting that night that they received from their police radio. Mosqueda claimed the car described by dispatchers was a green car with aftermarket rims, much like Pinex’s.
But after Mosqueda’s testimony Tuesday, attorneys for Pinex shared the recordings of the radio transmission for jurors, and it showed that dispatcher made no reference to the car’s color, wheels and never indicated whether it was involved in a shooting or had a dangerous occupant inside.
According to Mosqueda and Sierra, after pulling over Pinex in the early hours of the morning, Pinex refused to follow the officers’ orders, putting his car in reverse, striking a light pole and placed the car into drive before jerking it forward. Both Mosqueda, who fired the fatal shot, and Sierra emptied multiple rounds into the car, stopping the vehicle and killing Pinex.
But attorney Steven Fine, who is representing Pinex’s family in a $10 million dollar wrongful death suit against the city, claims the officers knew they were in the wrong.
“They killed Darius Pinex for no reason,” said Fine. “They lied about the dispatch…[they] knew they had no reason to stop that car.”
According to the lawyer for the City of Chicago, Jordan Marsh, the officers were in fear for their lives after Pinex, who was found dead with his right foot on the brake pedal, attempted to escape the traffic stop, and they shouldn’t be judged for what happened during “12 seconds on that cold dark Chicago night.”
Both officers remain employed by the Chicago Police Department, most notably Sierra, who was involved in two other shootings within six months of Pinex’s death, one of which was fatal.
In the latter shooting, Sierra fired three rounds into the back of 29-year-old Flint Farmer as he lay down on the ground. Sierra claimed he thought Farmrer’s burgundy cellphone was a gun at the time. As a result, Sierra said he felt his life was threatened by Farmer, and discharged his weapon 16 times at Farmer, hitting him seven times, including the three fatal shots while he was on the ground.
Cook County prosecutors did not bring any charges against Sierra, who admitted to drinking “multiple beers” before arriving to work on the night he killed Farmer, for his role in the death, claiming it was reasonable for Sierra to mistake Farmer’s cellphone for a gun.
Sierra was stripped of police powers after the final shooting, but remains on desk duty four years later.
The jury is still deliberating in regards to the shooting of Pinex, and whether the City of Chicago is responsible for his death.