Former Chicago cop is acquitted of murder, adding to prosecutors’ growing list of police case losses

Pierre Tyler (Chicago Police Department, CWBChicago)

CHICAGO — A former Chicago police officer was found not guilty of killing his girlfriend while he was still on the force in 2021. It’s the latest in a growing list of victories for Chicago cops accused of wrongdoing by Cook County prosecutors.

Pierre Tyler, 32, claimed that his girlfriend, Andris Wofford, pointed his duty weapon at him, and the gun discharged as he attempted to take control of the firearm during a domestic altercation. Wofford died from a gunshot wound to her face. Prosecutors said Wofford was upset because she thought Tyler was married to someone else. In fact, Tyler had cheated on Wofford, but he was not married.

He did not call 911 after the shooting and later told homicide detectives that he was meeting with an informant at the time of the shooting, details that helped fuel the state’s case.

Prosecutors took Tyler to trial on four counts of murder, dropping two additional counts before the proceedings began, according to court records. Testimony and closing arguments concluded on Friday, and the jury’s verdict was announced within hours. Tyler went home a short time later after being held at the county jail for nearly 900 days.

The Civilian Office of Police Accountability concluded its investigation into the shooting and a previous domestic altercation involving Tyler last spring. Its recommendations were sent to then-CPD Supt. David Brown, but the findings have not been released to the public. A court order prevented COPA from releasing its case information about the shooting while the criminal matter was pending.

In recent years, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office has filed charges against more than a dozen Chicago police officers, but the vast majority of the accused officers have won acquittals.

  • Prosecutors charged officer Christopher Hillas with official misconduct and aggravated battery in 2022, saying he punched a handcuffed man in the groin. The situation, according to Hillas’ attorney, was a misunderstanding that resulted from the men bumping heads. An embarrassed state’s attorney’s office had to drop the case within weeks after a grand jury refused to indict Hillas. 
  • In a particularly high-profile, racially charged case, prosecutors accused Officer Bruce Dyker of aggravated battery and official misconduct after viral videos showed him struggling with a Black woman who was walking her dog after hours at North Avenue Beach.

    It was widely believed within the state’s attorney’s office that the agency’s chief of investigations resigned in protest after top Kim Foxx aide Risa Lanier filed the case against Dyker. The grand jury indictment was filed with the court on June 7, 2022, and chief investigator Robert Roache sent resignation emails to colleagues two days later. The state’s attorney’s office dropped the entire case within a year.
  • In another incident caught on video, Sgt. Christopher Liakopoulos and Officer Ruben Reynoso were charged with shooting an unarmed man in Pilsen in 2022. Judge Lawrence Flood acquitted both men in September.
  • Sgt. Michael Vitellaro gained widespread attention after a video captured him pinning a teenage boy to the ground, mistakenly believing the teen had stolen his son’s bike. The boy was not involved, and prosecutors charged Vitellaro with battery and official misconduct. Judge Paul Pavlus acquitted Vitellaro in a bench trial, saying he did not believe the boy and his friends provided credible testimony.
  • CPD Lt. Wilfredo Roman was found not guilty of shoving a flashlight between a teenager’s buttocks while arresting the boy, who was suspected of carjacking.
  • Melvina Bogard, charged with shooting an unarmed man as he fled from a physical altercation with her partner on the Grand Red Line platform, was found not guilty.
  • Angel Escobedo, a CPD officer accused of threatening two off-duty officers with a gun during an early-morning altercation in Roscoe Village in 2021, was found not guilty in a bench trial by Judge Donald Panarese.

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