Englewood police shooting case tied to downtown looting in 2020 gets underway

Opening statements were delivered Tuesday in the attempted murder trial of a man who allegedly fired a gun at two Chicago police officers in Englewood in August 2020 — a shooting that, city officials said at the time, sparked widespread looting in the downtown area.

The defendant, 23-year-old Latrell Allen, was shot three times by officers on Aug. 9, 2020, after he allegedly fired several rounds at two officers in an alley near 57th Street and South Racine Avenue.

Allen was later charged with attempted murder and aggravated discharge of a firearm. His trial is expected to last through the week.

The shooting occurred during the especially tense summer of 2020, in the wake of the murder of George Floyd, a few months after looting and violence broke out across the city.

Another round of looting occurred after Allen was shot, and former Superintendent David Brown said at the time that the widespread theft was spurred by “misinformation” about the circumstances of Allen’s shooting. Posts on social media claimed that officers shot an unarmed child, Brown said.

In prosecutors’ opening statement to jurors, Assistant Attorney General Peter Ravoori said a 911 call came into the city’s emergency dispatch center in the afternoon of Aug. 9, 2020. The caller said a Black male, armed with a gun and wearing a red hat and red shirt, was in a park near 57th and Racine.

Four officers assigned to the newly formed community safety team were nearby, traveling together in an unmarked police SUV, and they responded to the call. None of the four were equipped with body-worn cameras.

Two officers who got out of the car soon came across Allen in a nearby alley, Ravoori said, and Allen opened fire.

“In that alley, the defendant turns, raises the firearm and fires round after round after round after round after round after round after round,” Ravoori said.

Neither officer was shot, and both returned fire, striking Allen in the torso and right cheek. He ran to his home nearby and was soon taken into custody, records show.

Allen’s attorney, Danielle Pinkston, repeatedly stressed to jurors that the shooting was not captured by police body-worn cameras or by dashboard cameras.

“This is a very serious case about who will police the police when they’re not wearing their issued body-worn cameras,” Pinkston said.

A gun was recovered near the scene but Pinkston also noted that no gunshot residue was found on the weapon or on Allen’s person or clothing.

During the initial pursuit of Allen, the officer who was driving the police SUV jumped a curb at a high speed while driving toward Allen and two others, who were all walking.

The Civilian Office of Police Accountability found that the two officers who shot Allen were justified in their use of deadly force, but the agency recommended a severe punishment for the officer who drove onto the sidewalk, records show. Brown, the former superintendent, agreed with COPA and called for the officer to serve a 180-day suspension.

Prosecutors said Monday that the suspension has yet to be served.