Unarmed Civilians Charged With Cops Murder

PART 1: Intro/Cases in Illinois 

When waking up in the hospital, Tristan Scaggs was in pain and confused. He was chained to the bed with deputies around him. Once he woke up, he wasn’t treated with care, but he was told he was going to jail for his friend’s murders.  


The Felony Murder Rule allows 13 states to charge a third party with first-degree murder if they have committed a felony. The rule states, “A person can be tried for the fatal actions of a third party, such as a police officer, if the death is deemed a reasonably foreseeable outcome of the crime.” This means that if someone is committing a felony, and a third party such as an officer or bystander kills someone trying to stop the felony, then the felons can be charged with first-degree murder. The rule may sound fair, but in these 13 states, this rule is exploited and used to enable police to get away with murder without any consequences. Illinois was a part of the 13 states with this rule, until earlier this year when they eliminated it. There have been 22 nationwide cases that involved the felony murder rule, and Illinois had 10 cases. The Tristan Scaggs Case is a very important part of that 10. 


On Oct. 30 in 2006, Tristan Scaggs and two of his friends were driving around in a stolen car. The Cook County Police had been looking for that specific stolen car that they were in and had been monitoring Tristan and his friend’s texts and phone calls on the belief they were involved in a gang. The police followed them for many blocks then stopped and surrounded the car. Officers then shot 69 times into the car with 10 different guns. Tristan’s friends in the front seat were shot a total of 30 times and both died immediately. Once seeing his friends shot in the head, Tristan put his hands up, got out of the car, and crawled to the ground. When on the ground, a 20-year police officer, Micheal Bocardo stood over him and shot him in the back. Struggling to breathe, Tristan asked why the officer shot him, and he said, “Because you are fixing to die mother-f*****” (Chicago Reader). One week after this happened, Tristan woke up in the hospital with deputies all around him and was told he was being charged with his friend’s murders, conspiracy to commit murder, and attempted murder. Even though Scaggs was found not guilty of first-degree murder, he was still convicted of attempted first-degree murder of a police officer and conspiracy to commit murder. Consequences for auto theft are usually fines or no more than four years in jail, but now Tristan Scaggs is serving 38 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit.  


Another case that happened in Illinois is the case of Tevin Louis. In 2012 on July 8, Tevin Louis and his best friend, Marquise Sampson allegedly robbed a local gyros shop of $1,250. They ran away but ended up going in different directions and the direction Sampson ran led him to the Chicago police. The police officers, Antonio Dicarlo, and his partner chased Sampson for a quarter of a mile before Dicarlo shot Sampson three times. It was reported that Sampson had a gun, but it wasn’t used as evidence during the trial, which means that evidence was insufficient. Louis came to the scene where his best friend lay dead, in distraught, he tried to go and see him. He was arrested for disorderly conduct, then arrested for the murder of his best friend. At trial, Louis denied the plea deal and got convicted to 32 years for armed robbery and 20 for first-degree murder of Marquise Sampson. Tevin Louis’s life is now taken away, but he also lost his best friend. “Marquise was like a brother—like he came from my momma’s womb,” said Louis. “It was heartbreaking. I lost somebody I be with every day” (Chicago Reader).

Tevin Louis(left)and his best friend Marquise Sampson(right). (Chicago Reader)


In Illinois, the felony murder rule has cost many people their lives. Not only did people die unjustifiably, but also people were wrongly accused of murdering their close friends. Police departments have been able to get away with killing people in cold blood, and use the excuse that they were a felon to justify their actions. Due to the fact that Illinois had almost half of the 22 felony murder rule cases in their state, they have changed the law in February of this year. Under a criminal justice bill, they stated, “A person who kills an individual without lawful justification commits first-degree murder if, he or she, acting alone or with one or more participants, commits or attempts to commit a forcible felony other than second-degree murder, and in the course of or in furtherance of such crime or flight therefrom, he or she or another participant causes the death of a person” (Restore Justice Illinois). This new law creates the “agency theory” which prevents co-participants in a crime from being charged with first-degree murder of a third party. While this may be a step in the right direction, this doesn’t help the people who have already been convicted due to the felony murder rule. It also doesn’t hold police officers accountable, but allows them to get away with murder. Illinois is the only state out of 13 to change its felony murder rule law and other states still have similar ongoing cases where police power is used to kill people and convict people for murder.


(Link to Part 2)