CHICAGO (STMW) - An angry Cook County judge berated a Chicago Police officer who was in court Tuesday after being charged with firing five shots at an off-duty suburban cop who tried to pull him over for driving drunk.
Judge Adam Bourgeois Jr. told cop John J. Gorman’s attorney: “The problem I have with this is that we have a climate in this city where citizens are shooting at each other. We have to expect and demand more from those who wear a badge.”
The off-duty cop wasn’t hit, and Gorman, 53, was charged with aggravated discharge of a firearm, the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting. He could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted.
When Gorman’s attorney, Michael Clancy, argued for the officer to be released without having to post bond, the judge said that the bullets could have hit a 9-year-old. Last week, 9-year-old Tyshawn Lee was lured to an alley and shot and killed in a gang dispute. His funeral was Tuesday.
If police officers are misbehaving, “how can we expect citizens to obey the law?” the judge asked. He set bail at $50,000.
Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said: “Activity which violates the law or undermines the integrity of the hardest working men and women of the CPD simply will not be tolerated.”
The police department broke with tradition Tuesday when it released Gorman’s mug shot, something Guglielmi said they will do whenever an officer is arrested.
Gorman, who served in the military and has two teenage children, has been on desk duty since the 2014 incident, which was first reported by the Chicago Sun-Times.
It started at 4:39 p.m. on Nov. 23, 2014, when an off-duty Merrionette Park police officer was a passenger in a pickup truck and saw a car driving erratically, almost hitting a flower vendor standing in the street near 111th and Pulaski, according to court records.
At 111th and Spaulding, the pickup pulled next to the Buick that Gorman was driving. They were stopped at a red light.
The Merrionette Park officer showed his badge and noticed that Gorman was holding an open beer, but when the light turned green, Gorman drove off, prosecutors say.
The Merrionette Park cop called 911 and followed Gorman to Prospect and Pryor avenues on the Southwest Side of Chicago, about two blocks from the Morgan Park police station.
Gorman allegedly walked to the back of his Buick and aimed his gun at the pickup truck.
The driver of the pickup drove away as Gorman fired five shots, prosecutors say.
One of the bullets left a hole in the rear bumper of the pickup, but the Merrionette Park officer and the driver were not shot.
The Merrionette Park officer reported the shooting to officers at the Morgan Park station. Chicago Police officers ran the license plate of the Buick and realized it was registered to Gorman, who they arranged to meet.
Gorman allegedly told the Chicago Police officers that he fired the shots and he turned over his handgun. On the street, officers found five bullet casings that matched Gorman’s .380-caliber Ruger.
Gorman initially refused to take a Breathalyzer test, but more than five hours later Internal Affairs investigators required him to submit to the test for administrative purposes. His blood-alcohol content was .07, just under the legal limit for driving, and he was charged with a misdemeanor for driving under the influence.
At least 22 misconduct complaints have been filed against Gorman since 2001, according to a database made public Tuesday by the University of Chicago Law School and independent journalist Jamie Kalven.
Gorman, an officer since 2001, was not disciplined for any of those complaints, including the alleged 2014 shooting incident, the database shows. The Independent Police Review Authority, though, typically waits until prosecutors have finished their work on a case before completing its investigation and recommendation for discipline.
Many of the complaints alleged he was involved in illegal arrests.
In 2006, he and two other officers were defendants in a lawsuit alleging they used excessive force during an arrest. The city settled the case for $24,000 in federal court, but said the defendants denied any wrongdoing.