After stealing a car, a teen driver rammed the vehicle into a pair of police officers and allegedly aimed a pistol at them. Despite seriously injuring one of the officers, the teen’s charges were dropped and officers were criminally charged instead.
Officers Jeffery Shafer, 35, and Victor Guebara, 40, were facing felony charges after arresting a teen for stealing a car and ramming it into their cruiser. However, many are conflicted on the charges being brought against the officers and those that were dropped against the teen suspect.
The Chicago police officers were patroling Woodlawn when they spotted a stolen vehicle that had been reported earlier that day, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. The 17-year-old driver led police on a chase, ultimately ramming the car into the officers’ vehicle when they attempted to pull up beside him. The young man eventually crashed into a garage, ending the pursuit.
The teen reportedly complied with an assisting officer’s orders to stop and put up his hands. However, while the officer was handcuffing the suspect, Guebara allegedly walked up and punched the teen in the face. Shafter then allegedly straddled the teen and punched him four times in the head before pushing his face into the concrete. Shafter then made the boy stand up and shoved him into a metal fence, causing the suspect to cut his head.
The incident was captured by a POD surveillance camera as well as the assisting officer’s bodycam, even though neither Guebara nor Shafer’s bodycams were activated. As such, Shafer and Guebara were later relieved of their police duties to face charges of aggravated battery and official misconduct, which could land each officer in prison for up to 10 years.
The teen was initially charged in juvenile court with battery and weapons offenses. However, those charges were later dropped. Shafer and Guebara both claim that the teen pointed a gun at them, but neither gave this information over the police radio until after the pistol was recovered from inside the vehicle’s glove box.
Officer Shafer was seriously injured in the crash and required surgery and subsequent medical treatment. Defense attorneys say that both officers served in the Middle East and are decorated Army combat veterans who were wounded and had “served honorably.” The defense team added that they had “absolutely no disciplinary history,” WGN reports.
“These two officers know this guy has got a gun. They don’t know if the other police officers know he has a gun. He struggled. They used mechanical strikes which they are well allowed to use,” a defense attorney said.
Two other assisting officers were accused of misconduct and were faced with disciplinary charges in connection to the use of excessive force. They were accused of either failing to intervene or failing to activate their bodycam during the arrest. The Cook County state’s attorney’s office and the police department’s Bureau of Internal Affairs concluded the investigation and decided to proceed with felony charges.
If convicted, the officers could face a minimum sentence of probation to a maximum of 2 to 5 years in prison for each of the charges. The officers maintained their innocence and insist that the teen had threatened their lives by aiming the pistol at them prior to his arrest.
If these officers used excessive force on the teen suspect, they should face the consequences of their actions. However, the fact that the teen will face no repercussions is just as disturbing.
As the anti-law enforcement movement gains popularity, we will see more violence escalate on both sides. Sadly, it only bolsters the false narrative that the police are inherently corrupt and the criminals are merely victims of an oppressive legal system.