Cicero (IL) Police Accused of Murdering Unarmed Latino Man, Covering Up Shooting

Police Marred Funeral with Searches & Helicopter Surveillance

From [HERE] and [HERE] and [HERE] Cicero police shot a man in the back as he rode a bicycle and let him bleed to death, then planted a gun by him, "threatened to kill" a witness, and intimidated and arrested other witnesses, the dead man's father claims in Federal Court.  G. Cesar Munive, father of the late son Cesar Munive, sued [complaint] the Town of Cicero, its "police Officer Dominick Schullo "and other unknown Cicero police officers for conspiracy, recklessness, excessive force and other charges. Schullo is  the son of former Cicero Police Chief Emil Schullo who was sentenced to nine years in prison for mob-linked corruption schemes during the town’s Betty Loren-Maltese scandal a decade ago.

The suit states: "On Thursday, July 5, 2012, Cesar Munive was riding his bike at the corner of 13th Street and 57th Avenue. A police officer drove at a high rate of speed, and pulled onto the curb and parkway at the corner. He jumped out of his car and without lawful cause or justification shot the unarmed decedent, Cesar Munive, once in the back.

After being shot the decedent screamed in pain and yelled that he had not done anything. The decedent fell down to the grass, bleeding. As Mr. Munive lay on the ground bleeding, the defendant officers forcefully handcuffed him with his hands behind his back and dragged him on the ground and delayed seeking medical attention. As a result of defendant Schullo's unlawful use of force, Munive suffered pain during his last conscious moments. The fatal police shooting was totally unjustified. Mr. Munive never did anything which could have justified the use of deadly force." Munive says his son "bled to death on the scene."

And he says that was not the end of the police abuse/ "Following the shooting, Defendant Schullo and other unknown members of the Cicero Police Department took actions designed to conceal and cover up the fact that Defendant Schullo shot an unarmed citizen, including planting a weapon at the shooting site and engaging in a pattern of intimidating witnesses, arresting witnesses without cause, calling witnesses on the telephone in the middle of the night, shining lasers into the windows of the home of a witness, Pedro Dominguez, threatening to kill Mr. Dominguez, and stopping vehicles and detaining relatives approaching Mr. Dominquez's home," the complaint states.

CBS News reported the night of the shooting that Cicero police shot a suspected gang member after police broke up a gang fight and a fleeing gang member pointed a gun at an officer.

Munive adds: "The misconduct described ... was undertaken pursuant to the policy and practice of the Cicero Police Department in that:"As a matter of both policy and practice, the Cicero Police Department directly encourages, and is thereby the moving force behind, the very type of constitutional violation at issue here by failing to adequately train in the use of excessive force, including deadly force, and failing to supervise and control its officers, such that its failure to do so manifests deliberate indifference and as a matter of both policy and practice, the department facilitates the very type o of constitutional violation at issue here by failing to adequately punish and discipline prior instances of misconduct, including 'repeater' offenders who exhibit patterns of abuse and misconduct, thereby leading Cicero Police Department officers to believe that their actions will never be scrutinized and, in that way, directly encouraging future abuses such as those affecting decedent and plaintiff."

Munive seeks punitive damages. He is represented by Daniel Stohr. “The Cicero police, with the cooperation of the Berwyn police, have been engaging in a pattern of harassment,” Stohr said Friday.

Police Ruined Funeral

Stohr also alleges that police have since intimidated the family to coerce them not to testify against the department, including during Thursday’s wake when a police helicopter circled above Parkwyn Funeral Home, 6901 Roosevelt Road in Berwyn.

On Friday morning before Munive's funeral, police pulled over vehicles traveling on Roosevelt Road, just as they had done the previous evening during Munive's wake. After the funeral service, mourners drove to Forest Home Cemetery where they passed two Forest Park police cars at the entrance and several squad cars and undercover police vehicles parked throughout the cemetery.

The police helicopter hovered overhead for part of the ceremony. Several squad cars from Forest Park were parked on the east side of the cemetery bridge. Also, three large police SUVs with armed officers inside were parked on the burial-mound hill in the middle of the cemetery.

His mother, Wanda Colon, said they were marred by police presence.

“I think that was just so disrespectful. They did not give us any time to mourn,” she said. “He’s already dead. What more do they want?”

Berwyn City Administrator Brian Pabst said in a statement that more than 10 law enforcement agencies banded together to suppress gang activity at the wake after receiving credible, specific threats that gang members were going to target police officers and firefighters.

On Thursday night, during Munive's wake, police were actively making their presence felt in Berwyn and south Oak Park after police received intelligence of an alleged threat to shoot a police officer in retaliation for the man's death, according to Weitzel.

"That information was obtained by the Cicero Police Department, so I don't have details," he said.

A group of at least 14 police officers and several marked and unmarked police vehicles pulled over vehicles driven by known gang members attending the evening wake.

"[WEDGE] was requested by the Cicero and Berwyn police departments. Our purpose is to maintain a physical presence, because we know who the players are," said Weitzel.

"Our officers recognized active gang members that were coming there and members of other gangs who might show up to pay their respects. We knew that could escalate," Weitzel said. "We were there to identify them and insure that there wasn't any other spill over as a result of the wake and funeral."

Weitzel said the Cook County Sheriff's Gang Unit also participated, as did police departments of Berwyn and Cicero. Police searched vehicles and gave some drivers traffic tickets. Weitzel didn't know exactly how many traffic stops police made.

A Chicago Police Department helicopter hovered over Harlem Avenue near Roosevelt Road for several hours on Thursday afternoon and evening. The dead man was "self-admitted" gang member, according to Weitzel. A Facebook page for the Almighty Insane Cicero Latin Counts mentions the death of one of their members on that date.

At no point, Pabst said, did any emergency personnel attempt to harass or intimidate family members at the wake. “We took a very low-key approach to this wake for multiple reasons, therefore police activity was not observed by most people in the area,” Pabst said Friday. “If it were (an attempt at harassment), we wouldn’t have had undercover folks out there. We would’ve had everybody in uniform on the street.” Pabst added that the police operation yielded two arrests for warrants and valuable intelligence.

Although Stohr would not comment about Munive’s alleged gang affiliations, the 22-year-old did have a record.

“He had a background, but none of that matters,” Stohr said. “So you’ve been to prison, and the police can just shoot you in the back? That’s the issue here.”