The Cook County District Attorney has charged an Amtrak police officer with first degree murder, after he shot an unarmed suspect who was fleeing from him. Amtrak Officer LaRoyce Tankson was booked this past week for the incident which occurred on Feb. 8, 2017. The charge came as the result of a very speedy investigation by the Cook County Internal Affairs Division, the DA’s office and the FBI. The speedy indictment comes after a period of scandal that loomed after their decision to wait on filing charges against the killer of LaQuan McDonald for more than a year.
Tankson encountered his victim, identified as Chad Robertson, who was caught smoking marijuana outside of Union Station in Chicago. When Robertson ran, Tankson shot him as he ran away. The police only found what was a small amount of marijuana, not a firearm. Robertson was shot through the shoulder with the bullet lodging in his neck. He later died in a Chicago hospital.
The family of Robertson have already filed a federal civil rights violation lawsuit. Based on the fact that a murder indictment came so quickly, it’s a good indicator they will succeed at civil trial.
The Amtrak Police are a national police force that comprises of sworn officers who work exclusively for Amtrak Corporation at and around transit hubs. Amtrak have had their own police force since 1970, when the Rail Passenger Service Act was passed. This gave a private corporation the ability to hire and train police officers, allegedly trained up to the standards of the state jurisdictions the officer is assigned to.
According to reports, Robertson was running at full speed and was approximately 75 to 100 feet away when Tankson fired. Witnesses reported that Tankson assumed a kneeling position, took aim and fired a single round, killing Robertson. He posed no threat, had no weapon and was only fleeing from a marijuana bust. Robertson has become yet another victim of the drug war and an over-zealous cop. Robertson was on a stopover and ducked outside the busy transit hub to smoke marijuana. This act should not have cost him his life.
The Amtrak Police usually go unheard of in the media, however, the shooting demonstrates that their officers are subjected to the same gung-ho mentalities that local police embrace. Once again, we see an innocent man lose his life because he failed to bow down to the display of dominance the officer projected. This is the second officer-involved shooting to be prosecuted by the Cook County District Attorney, this year alone. An off-duty cop was charged in January for the murder of a neighbor whom he shot during a heated dispute.
The Chicago Police Department was judged to be the most corrupt in the nation, however, it would appear the other local departments aren’t shielded from the attitudes the CPD continues to display. Tankson has been released from Cook County jail on $250,000 bond. His first court date is scheduled for March 9.
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