Chicago, IL – A man accused of attempting to murder an Alsip police officer by ramming a vehicle into him during a traffic stop had his bond reduced by a Cook County Circuit Court judge on Tuesday.
Jamal Campbell, 25, has been charged with attempted first-degree murder of a police officer in connection to the Oct. 3 attack, the Chicago Sun Times reported.
The court originally ordered Campbell to be held without bail. Then, at Campbell's hearing, his defense attorney, Michael Oppenheimer, noted that the officer opened fire on Campbell during the incident, and alleged that he had done so “probably for racial reasons,” the Chicago Sun Times reported.
“This police officer was trigger-happy,” Oppenheimer said.
Judge John F. Lyke Jr. then dropped his bond to just $20,000 during a bail review hearing on Tuesday, according to the Chicago Sun Times.
He will need just $2,000 to bond out.
The incident began just after 2 a.m. on Oct. 3, when the Alsip police officer spotted a Cadillac and a Dodge Charger drag racing in the residential neighborhood of David Estates.
In his attempt to locate the suspect vehicles, the officer pulled into an apartment parking lot in the 4000-block of 115th Street, where he located Campbell and an unnamed passenger inside the Cadillac.
The location sits just over the border between Alsip and Chicago, the Alsip Patch reported.
According to prosecutors, the officer activated his patrol car’s lights and blocked the Cadillac’s escape route with the marked cruiser, the Chicago Sun Times reported.
He and his partner exited the patrol car and ordered the occupants in the suspect vehicle to raise their hands, but the suspects initially refused.
At least one officer then drew his duty weapon and again commanded that the suspects show their hands, at which point the passenger complied.
“[Campbell] crouched down and would not show his hands,” court documents said, according to the Chicago Sun Times.
Campbell shifted the car into reverse and backed up briefly before he accelerated forward, towards the officer, prosecutors said.
As the officer backed away and opened fire on Campbell, the Cadillac slammed into the patrol vehicle, pushing the cruiser several feet.
Campbell then continued to stomp on the gas, “causing the vehicle to spin its tires and swerve back and forth,” according to court documents.
The Cadillac began “pinballing” off of other vehicles in the lot, and came within inches of hitting one of the Alsip officers, prosecutors said, according to the Chicago Sun Times.
When the suspect “began making multiple movements within the vehicle,” the officer fired a second round, incapacitating him.
The officers provided medical attention to Campbell, who had been hit in his shoulder and jaw, according to the Alsip Patch.
He was transported to Christ Medical Center in serious condition, and remained hospitalized on Tuesday, the Chicago Sun Times reported.
Both Alsip officers were treated for minor injuries.
The incident was captured by dashcam and parking lot security cameras, and prosecutors said the footage corroborated the officers’ accounts of what transpired.
Oppenheimer alleged that the allegations against his client “make no sense,” and claimed that Campbell only crouched down in the vehicle because the officers “pulled their guns immediately,” the Chicago Sun Times reported.
“The attempted first-degree murder [charge] is absolutely ridiculous,” Oppenheimer told WBBM. “These police officers jumped out of their car with their guns drawn. They didn’t give Jamal a chance to react to anything, and they began firing numerous shots at that car.”
He said that Campbell was never charged in connection to the alleged drag racing incident, and that officers had no reason to believe he was armed or in possession of drugs when they conducted the stop, the Chicago Sun Times reported.
Oppenheimer then accused police of a “cover-up,” according to the Alsip Patch.
"There is a history of police cover-ups in Chicago," Oppenheimer said after the hearing on Tuesday. "Justice was served last week with a guilty verdict [in the Jason Van Dyke murder trial]. Based on what we heard today, we think police are covering up."
According to Oppenheimer, Campbell’s only previous conviction was due to a misdemeanor offense, the Chicago Sun Times reported.
That misdemeanor conviction, which occurred in Kentucky, was originally charged as felony gun possession, according to the Alsip Patch.
Campbell was ultimately convicted of misdemeanor possession of stolen property.
Police said Campbell is also being held without bail due to an arrest warrant out of Indiana for a felony narcotics charge, but Oppenheimer downplayed that offense, as well, the Chicago Sun Times reported.
“We expected to address [the narcotics] charge as soon as possible so [Campbell] can go home,” Oppenheimer told the Chicago Sun Times. “My understanding is it’s related to weed or a pill, or something like that. It’s small.”
The defense attorney also noted that Campbell attended college in Kentucky for three years on an academic scholarship.
The Chicago Police Department is investigating the officer-involved shooting, and the Alsip Police Department requested that the officers’ use of force be investigated by the Illinois State Police.
Both Alsip officers have been placed on paid administrative leave, as per protocol, pending the outcome of the investigation, the Alsip Patch reported.
Campbell’s next court hearing has been scheduled for Oct. 16.