CHICAGO, IL – In what officials are calling an example of extreme restraint and exemplary policing, Chicago Police Officer Gregory Smith is being praised for shooting unarmed black man Darrel Washington in the leg instead of the heart after officers entered the wrong apartment responding to reports of a burglary in progress.
“I would like to commend Officer Wendall Smith for his use of non-lethal force against Mr. Washington. While we now understand that Mr. Washington was an innocent bystander in this situation, the actions of Officer Smith mean that Mr. Washington will walk away with his life… that is, when he’s able to walk again,” said Chicago Police Commissioner David Brown, adding “We are responding to calls for action by encouraging our officers to neutralize threats with non-lethal force, and it’s paying off. The noble actions of Officer Greg Smith have prevented another senseless death, and that’s something we can all be proud of.”
The incident took place on Thursday evening around 11pm when police were called to a suspected burglary in progress at East 28th Place and South Michigan Avenue, Building B, Apartment 2. Upon arrival, responding officers entered Apartment 2 in Building D, apparently mishearing dispatchers. Officer Smith then opened fire on Washington, who had been sitting on his sofa playing Xbox One, striking him several times in the leg. The actual suspect, caucasian male Bryan Harding, was later apprehended without incident.
Protests have erupted throughout the country in response to the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers on May 25th prompting lawmakers to call for reforms in police tactics, most notably by democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden who called on police to aim for the legs, rather than the heart when shooting suspects.
“This could have had a much different outcome,” said Illinois Governor J. B. Pritzker. “It’s nice to see that our calls for action are being heard. We need the black community to feel that they can trust police officers, and the actions of Officer Smith are helping to reinforce that trust.”
As of press time, BeetPress has confirmed that Chicago police officers are now being directed to shoot peaceful protests in the chest with rubber bullets, a departure from their standing policy of shooting protesters in the face.