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$12 Million Settlement By IL Police Agency Over Shooting Of Boy, 12

Twelve-year-old Amir Worshop was sitting on his bed hands raised when an Illinois police officer shot him in the knee with an AR-15-style rifle during a pre-dawn SWAT raid, according to USA Today. The shot resulted in five surgeries and four years later, PTSD and a permanent disability. Amir and his mother, Crystal Worship, sued the officer, who says he fired accidentally, and the suburb of Richton Park, Il., over the 2019 incident, alleging the officer intentionally or recklessly shot Amir. Attorneys on Wednesday announced a $12 million settlement. While several probes did not find misconduct, the family is asking prosecutors to hold the officer accountable. "He was never disciplined and never even taken off the streets," said family attorney Al Hofeld, Jr. "You can’t just shoot a 12-year-old child for literally no reason and do it with complete impunity." Worship and his family were sleeping when a SWAT team entered the home "with exploding flash-grenades," rifles, and "other displays of deadly force," attorneys said. "They knew there were children living in this house," Hofeld said. The officers were executing a search warrant for Crystal Worship's boyfriend, who was arrested and charged with drug possession. The charges were later dropped.

Officers entered the rooms of Amir and his two brothers, shouted commands, and pointed rifles at them, attorneys said, adding, "The children were terrified they were about to be killed. They never refused to follow instructions, resisted, attempted to flee, or posed any threat whatsoever,." Caleb Blood, a Richton Park police officer and member of the South Suburban Emergency Response Team, was later fired from the team. Three investigations, one by the Illinois State Police and two by Richton Park, did not find misconduct. The settlement includes a public apology from Richton Park, a private apology from Blood, and a commitment from Blood to retraining and recertification. The Village of Richton Park apologized for Blood's "tragic mistake" and said the "accidental shooting of innocent, 12-year-old Amir, which could have resulted in his death, should never have occurred." Crystal Worship accepted Blood's apology but called his actions "reckless." She said "justice would be served" if the Cook County State's Attorney re-opened its investigation and brought charges.


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