The Crusader Newspaper Group

Only one Black juror picked in Maggette trial

Photo caption: Associate Judge Lawrence Flood

Only one Black juror, whose relatives are cops, was picked to serve on the trial of Dashonn Maggette, the Chicago man who faces attempted murder and aggravated battery charges after a police officer accused him of shooting him in the hand during a hallway scuffle in 2017.

Dashonn Maggette with his daughter

After waiting six years, the trial finally got underway with jury selection on Monday, June 26, at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse on the West Side. Some 40 juror applicants packed Associate Judge Lawrence Flood’s courtroom, where they were asked specific questions to determine whether they can be impartial as potential jurors who will decide the fate of Maggette.

Of the pool of 40 applicants, only five were Black, of which three were male and two were female.

At the end of a long day in Courtroom 504, only one Black person was selected to serve as a juror during the long-awaited trial that took six years to begin after numerous delays. The Crusader is withholding the name of the Black juror, a male who works as a librarian and lives in a suburb south of Chicago.

Despite U.S. Census data that show Blacks make up nearly 24 percent of Cook County’s 5.1 million population, the lone Black man was picked to serve on the jury.

With concerns of potential police bias infecting the trial proceedings, the lone Black juror said during jury selection that his cousin and uncle were employed as state troopers. Despite having relatives in law enforcement positions, the Black man told Judge Flood he can still be impartial as a juror.

Judge Flood himself is a former Chicago police officer, appointed to the bench in 2001. He is presiding over a case involving Chicago police officers Patrick Forbes and Michael Hudson, both of whom testified Tuesday about what happened on June 3, 2017.

apartment building chatham 1
Apartment building in the 8100 block of S. Maryland.

That day, Maggette and a group of friends were hanging outside an apartment building in the 8100 block of South Maryland when a police cruiser drove by.

Maggette, who was violating his curfew after completing parole for a drug conviction in 2016, ran into an apartment building.

Forbes and Hudson followed him up several flights of stairs. Maggette suffered three gunshot wounds after Forbes fired three shots while on the third floor. Both officers said Maggette had a gun and shot Hudson in the hand. Maggette said he did not have a gun and was denied a copy of the ballistics test report that Judge Flood kept sealed for six years while Maggette languished in Cook County Jail.

After the shooting, Forbes pursued Maggette outside the building where Hudson told the Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA) that an onlooker placed a tourniquet on his hand to stop it from bleeding. After running and fighting Forbes in front of the building, Maggette collapsed and remained on the ground until police arrived on the scene.

Hudson was treated at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn. Forbes was not shot.

Prosecutors and Maggette’s public defender, Karin Talwar, made their opening arguments Tuesday, June 27. Officers Forbes and Hudson gave separate accounts of the incidents during their testimonies on the witness stand.

A large portion of the cell phone video, taken by a bystander that night, was played before jurors, but they could not hear what Forbes or Maggette said that night, after Judge Flood had the audio muted.

The video showed Officer Forbes striking Maggette in the face at the entrance of the apartment building. But during his testimony Forbes testified that he struck Maggette with his flashlight after Maggette pushed his hand away and hit him three times.

The cell phone video the Crusader and the jurors viewed doesn’t show what Forbes claims. Nor does Forbes mention these claims in his interview with COPA after the incident.

On Wednesday, June 28, Judge Flood denied Talwar’s request for a mistrial after she alleged that her client was not getting a fair trial. The jurors were not in the courtroom when Talwar made the request. Talwar made the request after Judge Flood overruled her many objections that she raised when Forbes and Hudson testified on the witness stand. Forbes’ shifting account of the incident was questioned in light of the officers’ initial statements to COPA.

If convicted Maggette, 37, could get life in prison. He has a daughter who turned 13 in May. The trial was expected to conclude by this week, but several late starts could push the proceedings into next week.

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