March 6, 2020
Another chimp wrangler who ended up getting riddled with bullets.
Many such cases.
If his family wants justice, they’d better hope the jury isn’t packed with darkies.
It was broad daylight, and there were bystanders and surveillance cameras everywhere in one of the busiest sections of Chicago as Police Cmdr. Paul Bauer chased Shomari Legghette through the Loop in February 2018. But the final seconds of Bauer’s life came on a stairwell just out of sight, and what happened in those moments may be the crux of Legghette’s defense as he stands trial for murder.
In opening statements Tuesday, prosecutors alleged that Legghette “executed” the 31-year Chicago Police Department veteran as he tried to escape arrest when other officers tried to stop the four-time convicted felon — who was armed with a 9-millimeter pistol and a bulletproof vest— after spotting Legghette on Lower Wacker Drive. Bauer wore his uniform under his coat, and his police radio was on “full-blast” as he ran after Legghette near the Thompson Center, Assistant State’s Attorney Rise Lanier told jurors.
“[Legghette] knew. He knew Paul Bauer was a police officer,” the prosecutor said. “He knew he was a police officer trying to arrest him. And he killed him for it.”
Addressing jurors in front of a courtroom gallery packed with uniformed police officers, Legghette’s attorney, Scott Kamin, described the life-and-death struggle his client faced — though Legghette didn’t know Bauer was a cop.
A “street hustler,” Legghette was an occasional drug dealer who carried a gun and wore body armor for protection. Legghette had wandered down to Lower Wacker looking for a port-o-potty when police on a tactical unit called out to him. Legghette said “I’m good” and “jogged” up the stairs, unaware he was being followed, much less chased, Kamin said.
Bauer appeared to Legghette as just a “man in blue coat” who was following Legghette through the Loop and threw him in a chokehold as Legghette ran for a staircase outside the Thompson Center.
Legghette is expected to take the stand to describe the struggle that took place after he and Bauer tumbled down to a stairwell. Bauer, 53, was shot six times, and Legghette’s case for self-defense seems as if it will hinge on whether jurors believe he had no idea Bauer was a cop.
The trial, which is expected to last around two weeks at the Leighton Criminal Court Building, opens just over two years after Bauer was killed.