CHICAGO (Reuters) - The FBI and federal prosecutors are investigating some shootings in Chicago in which police were involved and in which a gun belonging to the person shot was not recovered, according to an attorney who represents police officers.
The attorney, Daniel Q. Herbert, in a letter to the head of the Chicago police union dated Aug. 29, warned of the investigation and advised that officers not speak to investigators unless they have legal representation present.
“It has come to my attention that the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office are investigating certain police-involved shootings, specifically ones in which an offender’s gun was not recovered,” Herbert wrote in the letter.
“Furthermore, officers need to realize that refusing to speak with investigatory law enforcement agency in these types of situations is NOT a violation of any Rules or Regulations of the CPD nor is it an admission of guilt in any way,” he wrote.
The letter to Dean C. Angelo, Sr., president of the Chicago branch of the Fraternal Order of Police, was published this week on the police blog Second City Cop.
“This memo was merely to inform the membership of their rights and the protections they have, the same as any other person under investigation,” Angelo said in statement. “There are no specific officers or incidents that we are aware of at this time.”
Police-involved shootings have received increased national attention in the past month because of the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teen in Ferguson, Missouri, on Aug. 9. The shooting of Michael Brown, 18, led to sometimes violent protests and is being investigated by the FBI.
Chicago police fatally shot 13 people last year and for this year through Aug. 24 have shot 10, according to records with the Independent Police Review Authority and media reports.
The Chicago FBI office and the U.S. Attorney’s office declined comment on Wednesday. Herbert and Angelo could not be reached immediately for comment.
The letter did not identify which shootings are under FBI scrutiny.
Craig Sandberg, an attorney who represented the family of Flint Farmer, who was shot by Chicago police in 2011, said the FBI investigated that case, and he doesn’t know whether the investigation was closed. Farmer’s estate settled with the city for $4.1 million.
Sandberg, whose firm has represented other victims and families in police-involved shooting cases, said FBI involvement in police shootings is “infrequent.”
Reporting by Mary Wisniewski; Editing by Leslie Adler, Bernard Orr