AFRICANGLOBE – A 23-year-old man is currently serving a jail sentence for his best friend’s murder, despite a Chicago police officer actually pulling the trigger.
In July of 2012, Tevin Louis, who was 19 at the time, allegedly stole approximately $1,250 from a gyros restaurant with his best friend, Marquise Sampson. After making off with the cash, the two ran in different directions. Sampson encountered Chicago police officer Antonio Dicarlo, who shot and killed Sampson outside his home. When Louis arrived at the scene, Dicarlo and his partner cuffed Louis and charged him with not only disorderly conduct, but with first-degree murder in Sampson’s death.
“Marquise was like a brother—like he came from my momma’s womb,” Louis told the Chicago Reader. “It was heartbreaking. I lost somebody I be with every day.”
Bizarrely, Dicarlo acknowledged killing Sampson in his account of that night’s events, and his admission of the shooting has been preserved in Chicago Police Department records and in his interview with the Chicago Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA), which investigates all officer-involved shootings in the city. Dicarlo told the IPRA that Sampson pointed a weapon in his direction, prompting Dicarlo to fire his service weapon.
However, Sarah Macareg, who co-wrote the Reader article with Allison Flowers, obtained the video of Sampson’s killing through a Freedom of Information Act request. Macareg told Democracy Now that Dicarlo’s account is highly suspect, given his controversial record as a Chicago police officer.
“The video is highly obscured. There is no situation in which it’s clear that Marquise Sampson ever pulled a weapon on Dicarlo,” Macareg said. “The officer has more than 20 misconduct complaints on his record, one of which involves the improper use of a weapon. And really, the whole finding of the shooting being justified was very much reliant on just the officer’s account.”
University of Buffalo law school professor Guyora Binder, who authored a book on the felony murder statute, told the Reader that an officer’s use of the felony murder statute should raise red flags for judges and defense attorneys.
“A felony murder charge for an arrestee where a police officer has killed somebody is an indicator that the police officer probably engaged in misconduct,” Binder said.
In a detailed investigation, the Reader reports that Louis was able to be charged with his friend’s murder under Illinois’ controversial “felony murder rule” statute that states a person can, through a chain of events surrounding the commission of a felony, be responsible for the circumstances that lead to the death of another person, even if the person involved didn’t actually carry out murder.
Alarmingly, Louis’ case is just one of many charged under the felony murder rule, according to the Reader. Since 2011, Chicago police have successfully charged at least ten defendants for murder, despite the police officer on the scene actually doing the killing. In Louis’ case, hes not only serving a 32-year prison sentence for armed robbery, but an additional 20-year sentence for Sampson’s murder. Louis is currently appealing the murder conviction.
By: Tom Cahill