Amtrak Cop Charged with First Degree Murder

An Amtrak police officer just 18 months on the job was charged with first-degree murder for fatally shooting an unarmed man fleeing after being stopped over his suspected possession of marijuana, Cook County prosecutors said Friday.

The officer, LaRoyce Tankson, unholstered his service weapon, “assumed a crouched firing stance” and fired once as the victim was about 75 to 100 feet away and running at full speed, prosecutors said.

The victim, Chad Robertson, 25, was shot in the back of his shoulder, according to the medical examiner’s office. He had been in Chicago for only about a half-hour Feb. 8 while on a stopover at Union Station waiting on a bus to Minneapolis.

Late Friday afternoon, Tankson, 31, was released from Cook County Jail on $250,000 bail and was shielded from reporters by uniformed officers as he ducked into an unmarked police vehicle and was driven away. Prosecutors had sought to hold him without bail.

The officer’s lawyer, William Fahy, said Tankson opened fire “in defense of himself and others” after seeing Robertson reach his left hand toward his pocket while turning toward the officer as he ran away.

Tankson “really believed he was about to be shot,” Fahy said. “That’s not first-degree murder, judge.”

Fahy said a small amount of marijuana was found on Robertson, a father of two who lived in Minneapolis.

Prosecutors said none of six witnesses to the shooting in the 300 block of South Canal Street saw Robertson gesture or turn toward the officer. In addition, Tankson’s partner did not see a weapon or anything else in Robertson’s hand and never opened fire himself, according to prosecutors. No weapon was found on Robertson, they said. Continue Reading

Article Org: chicagotribune.com

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