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VIDEO: Jail inmates applaud suspect accused of killing Chicago Police commander Paul Bauer

February 18, 2018  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
VIDEO: Jail inmates applaud suspect accused of killing Chicago Police commander Paul Bauer

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Five inmates in Chicago’s Cook County Jail who cheered as the man charged with last week’s fatal shooting of Chicago police commander Paul Bauer walked by their cell could face reprisals for their behavior.

Cara Smith, the chief policy officer for Sheriff Tom Dart, indicated that security footage shows the inmates clapping as suspect Shomari Legghette was being escorted past a packed holding cell on Thursday following his court appearance. The prisoners were in the cell awaiting action on their cases.

Legghette has been charged with first-degree murder in the fatal shooting of Commander Paul Bauer that occurred on Tuesday.

Smith said the five inmates were brought overnight from Chicago to a facility in Illinois, where it will be more difficult for family and friends to see them while they are in custody, the Chicago Tribune reported.

The jail also is sending the video to prosecutors, along with reports of the incident on Thursday so they can use the information if the inmates are found guilty.

“The conduct those detainees engaged in was disgraceful… and speaks to their character,” Smith stated. “We feel it should be considered in connection with their sentencing.”

The footage could be a “factor of aggravation” to be considered by a judge when the inmates are sentenced.

However, Steve Greenberg, a leading defense attorney in Chicago, maintained that there is no way the inmates should be punished for what he said is an apparent exercise of their right to free speech.

“These inmates … no matter how vile you think their expression is, have an absolute right under the First Amendment to express those feelings, and it is a violation as citizens to penalize them or consider that as aggravation,” Greenberg, who is not representing any of the men, said.

The footage was recorded moments after Legghette, 44, appeared in court on charges of first-degree murder of an officer, armed violence, illegal use of a weapon by a felon, and possession of a controlled substance.

Authorities said they wanted to interview Legghette Tuesday when he fled and Bauer pursued him on foot. He apprehended Legghette near the James R. Thompson Center, a government building, where the two fought and Legghette tumbled down the stairs. Bauer fell or ran after him to a landing where, Legghette, who wearing a bulletproof vest and armed with a semi-automatic firearm, shot the 53-year-old officer six times.

The victim, a 31-year veteran of the police force, was pronounced dead shortly after.

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