When a rookie female police officer tried to intervene in a dispute, the man whom she was helping attempted to steal her gun. That’s when the off-duty cop was forced into action and was later faced with a $10 million lawsuit.
When an off-duty Chicago police officer heard a loud dispute in front of an apartment complex in the crime-ridden Southside of the windy city, she attempted to help. According to reports, the rookie female officer was leaving the housing complex when she tried to diffuse the conflict and urged those involved in the disagreement to “calm down.”
As the other people take off, the man identified as Leevon Smith sticks around and talks to the officer for just over a minute. It appeared as if the officer was protecting Smith from three other individuals in the dispute. “At various points in the video the officer can be seen protecting Smith from the three men by standing in front of him,” the Daily Mail reported.
As the off-duty cop turns to head back into the apartment building, the video appears to show Smith reaching for the officer’s handgun, setting off a struggle. As the two wrestled and fell to the ground, the handgun went off and hit the 39-year-old Smith, according to Chicago’s Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA).
“I’ll kill you,” the officer warned Smith before firing two shots. After the first two shots went off, Smith said, “You got me, you got me,” according to audio and video of the incident released by the accountability office. The off-duty officer then said, “I told your dumb— I’d kill you,” as she fired the third and final shot.
“Damn, baby, I’m sorry,” a wounded Smith replied. “I don’t want to die.” The officer yelled out for someone to call the police as she continued to admonish Smith for attempting to take her gun, the footage showed. “You thought I was playing, I told you I’d shoot you,” the 30-year-old officer said. “I told your dumb— I’d shoot you,” the off-duty cop yelled. “You tried to steal my f—ing gun!”
Smith was taken to the hospital, where he died two days later, CBS Chicago reported. The female cop, who is in her first year as a Chicago police officer, was placed on routine 30-day administrative duty. She suffered a cut above her right eye, according to the arrest report. The officer was one of several people to call 911 after the shooting, telling the dispatch she was robbed and that she shot a man. “Oh my God, he just tried to rob me,” the shaken officer said on the call.
A neighbor can be heard saying on a 911 call about the shooting: “There’s a lady outside with a gun and she shot somebody. … She’s going inside with the gun.” Another witness told Fox 5 Chicago: “The tussle that they had, almost had me in tears because she’s a tiny little person. I’m glad that she was able to keep herself together and do what she needed to do to come out alive.”
Leevon Smith’s sister, Tequila Smith, launched a $10 million lawsuit against the City of Chicago and the female police officer. Tequila is seeking the vast sum claiming she suffered “loss of companionship and society, grief, sorrow, and mental anguish” following her brother’s death. Tequila’s lawsuit accuses the officer of using “excessive and violent physical force” to kill Smith, whose name is repeatedly misspelled in the documents, it was reported.
According to the lawsuit, the fight that led to the shooting began as an argument between Leevon Smith and his girlfriend in front of the apartment building where they both lived. The suit “fast-forwards” through the confrontation with the three other men and Smith wrestling with the officer, Daily Mail added.
Prior to his death, Smith was charged with one felony count each of aggravated battery in a public place and attempted robbery. A tactical report on the incident describes the officer as being placed in “imminent danger” as Smith attempted to take her firearm.