It has been a long fight for justice for Michael LaPorta, who was shot in the head almost 10 years ago, in what police say was a suicide attempt. CBS 2 Investigator Dave Savini has been investigating this case for years, and had an exclusive report Monday morning.
“I can’t understand why it took so long,” said Patti LaPorta. “I mean, Mikey lost 10 years of life.”
Mikey is Patti LaPorta’s son. She said he has had to undergo nine surgeries.
Mikey Laporta was shot in the head in 2010. He says Chicago Police officer and childhood friend Patrick Kelly fired the bullet.
Kelly and LaPorta had been out drinking the night LaPorta suffered the near-fatal wound. The CBS 2 investigators have learned the Civilian Office of Police Accountability now believes Kelly was the shooter and is recommending he be fired.
“This was a bad cop,” Patti LaPorta said.
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CBS 2 obtained a 74-page report, in which COPA says evidence showed Kelly pulled the trigger and then “gave false statements” to detectives investigating the shooting – trying to make it look like a suicide attempt.
The report said on Jan. 12, 2010, police were called to Officer Kelly’s home and found LaPorta – whose name is redacted in the report – with a gunshot wound to the head.
Kelly claimed LaPorta had shot himself with the officer’s gun in a suicide attempt. LaPorta suffered a traumatic brain injury and spent two months in the hospital and two more at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago – and he was unable to speak and thus could not provide an account of what happened once he regained consciousness, the report said.
The former Independent Police Review Authority – which COPA replaced in 2017 – made seven allegations of misconduct against Kelly. Five were sustained, but the questions of whether Kelly shot LaPorta and whether he gave false statements about it were not resolved, the report said.
LaPorta’s family also filed a civil lawsuit against Kelly and the city in October 2010. A jury ruled in LaPorta’s favor, the report said.
After the IPRA investigation closed, LaPorta did regain some ability to communicate and reportedly began having memories of the incident – specifically that he didn’t shoot himself and had not been suicidal, the report said.
COPA launched a new investigation that included some new interviews and depositions with witnesses.
The report related that in a deposition on May 4, 2012, Kelly said sometime after 10 p.m. on Jan. 11, 2010, Kelly and LaPorta were at Kelly’s house following a night of bar-hopping. Kelly claimed that LaPorta went into Kelly’s bedroom where the officer kept his gun in a nightstand – and Kelly saw him through the door holding the gun in his left hand and aiming it at his left temple.
Kelly claimed he went to grab the gun from LaPorta and it discharged.
LaPorta had different recollections about the same night. LaPorta told investigators that Kelly had been punching and yelling at his own dog, which led LaPorta first to complain and quarrel with Kelly, then to decide to leave, the report said.
LaPorta was afraid Kelly was going to shoot something, “like a wall or something like that,” and said he flinched as he prepared to leave. He said he did not see a gun before being shot, but said he knew Kelly had a gun and usually kept it in his waistband, the report said.
In an interview with COPA on Jan. 25, 2018, LaPorta likewise said he got into a quarrel with Kelly because Kelly hit his dog. LaPorta said Kelly pushed him and he couldn’t remember if he pushed back, but he said he was leaving. He again said he flinched because he thought Kelly was shooting the wall, then felt Kelly shooting, the report said.
LaPorta told investigators his next memory was of being in the hospital, and said he did not know initially that he had been shot, the report said. He said before the incident, he was happy and never thought of suicide, the report said.
Others also testified that LaPorta was right-handed, despite Kelly’s claim that LaPorta had held the gun to his own head with his left hand.
“Based on the review of the available evidence, it is more probably true than not that Officer Kelly shot (LaPorta), without justification on January 12, 2010, in violation of the Chicago Police Department’s Rules and Regulations. A discussed below, while (LaPorta’s) condition post-injury has affected his memory about the moments leading up to the shooting, COPA finds his testimony about not being suicidal to be credible,” the report said. “Officer Kelly’s multiple objectively false statements about the events of the night coupled with his intoxication make him not credible.”
The report said various objective circumstances discredit Kelly’s account. Among them was physical evidence that the gunshot wound could not have been self-inflicted, the report said.
When asked about the report, Michael LaPorta Sr. said, “Finally, somebody’s doing their job.”
For years, Kelly repeatedly declined to talk. One time he even ran when CBS 2 tried to question him about the shooting – or his other misconduct cases while responding to police calls.
In 2014, while on duty, Kelly is accused of wrongfully shooting Hector Hernandez to death. A year earlier in 2013, he was accused of wrongfully using a Taser on Elaina Turner, who was pregnant.
Turner’s case settled for half a million dollars. The Hernandez lawsuit is pending.
“A man died,” said Patti LaPorta. “Turner, she lost her baby”
“One day, they need to name a hurricane after Patrick Kelly and call it Hurricane Kelly, because this officer, since he started in the department, has left, literally, a path of destruction,” said attorney Tony Romanucci.
“The right thing to do we get justice, he gets criminal charges,” Patti LaPorta added.
Ultimately, it is up to the superintendent and Police Board to decide whether Kelly gets fired. In addition to wanting him terminated, the Laportas want the Cook County State’s Attorney to charge Kelly criminally.
The LaPortas’ lawsuit accused the city of enabling Kelly to remain on the force despite numerous prior misconduct incidents. A jury awarded LaPorta $44.7 million two years ago.
The city is appealing that verdict.
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