“Every case involving the use of deadly force by a police officer, whether on or off duty, must be carefully and thoroughly investigated. Such scrutiny is required to ensure the protection of the civil rights of those involved and to maintain the public’s confidence in law enforcement.
After a thorough and extensive investigation surrounding the shooting of twenty-eight-year-old Edward Samaan, which occurred on June 3, 2022, in the late morning hours at the intersection of Bond and McDowell Street, Naperville, by an on-duty Naperville Police Officer, it is my determination that the officer’s actions were justified and no criminal charges will be filed against the Officer.
Body-worn video (YouTube.com PoliceActivity BodyCam & DashCam 14:57 combined elapsed)
In reaching this conclusion, my staff and I carefully reviewed the applicable law and thoroughly examined all of the evidence, including but not limited to:
Statements from those involved;
In-car squad video;
Analysis of physical evidence.
On Friday, June 3, 2022, at approximately 11:00 a.m., Naperville Police Officer Frank Tonkovich, observed a black Honda Civic disobey a stop sign at eastbound McDowell Road and Bond Street. Officer Tonkovich, who was driving a marked Naperville Police squad car, positioned his vehicle behind the Honda and conducted a traffic stop on the Honda Civic on northbound Bond St. just north of McDowell Road.
At approximately 11:13 a.m., while Officer Tonkovich was speaking with the driver of the Honda Civic, a silver Ford Fusion driven by Edward Samaan stopped in the middle of the road within just a few feet of Officer Tonkovich’s location. Samaan exited the Ford Fusion with a hatchet in his right hand and charged at Officer Tonkovich. Officer Tonkovich drew his firearm and fired six shots at Samaan, killing him. Samaan was shot 5 times. Samaan died from the gunshot wounds. An investigation into the shooting was conducted by the MERIT Public Integrity Team. MERIT investigators processed the scene where they recovered six spent shell casings. MERIT investigators also recovered the hatchet carried by Samaan.
The above facts have been evaluated in the context of Illinois law governing the justifiable use of deadly force. In accordance with Illinois law, my staff and I have reviewed the facts and circumstances of the case with special consideration given to the perspective of the officer on the scene. It is important to remember that police officers are often forced to make split-second decisions about the appropriate amount of force necessary to bring a tense, uncertain and rapidly evolving situation under control.
When Officer Tonkovich was speaking with the driver of the Honda Civic, a silver Ford Fusion driven by Edward Samaan stopped in the middle of the road within just a few feet of Officer Tonkovich’s location. Samaan exited the Ford Fusion with a hatchet in his right hand and charged at Officer Tonkovich. Officer Tonkovich noted that “prior to the deadly force situation, when Edward Samaan abruptly stopped his vehicle next to me, he had a crazed look in his eyes. He exited from his vehicle in an aggressive manner with a hatchet and immediately and violently charged at me.” Officer Tonkovich wrote in his report that he “fear[ed] for my life” and the “life of (the driver of the Honda Civic).” Officer Tonkovich wrote in his report, “I was forced to draw my firearm and use deadly force to stop Samaan from killing me or (the driver of the Honda Civic).”
According to the U.S. Supreme Court, the “reasonableness of a particular use of force must be judged from the perspective of a reasonable officer on the scene, rather than with the 20/20 vision of hindsight. Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 389 at 396 (1989). “[H]owever, the ‘reasonableness’ inquiry in an excessive-force case is an objective one: the question is whether the officers’ actions are ‘objectively reasonable’ in light of the facts and circumstances confronting them, without regard to their underlying intent or motivation.” Graham, 490 U.S. at 397. Under the new version of Illinois Statute 720 ILCS 5/7-5(f), Peace officer’s use of force in making arrest, “the decision by a peace officer to use force shall be evaluated from the perspective of a reasonable officer in the same situation, based on the totality of the circumstances known to or perceived by the officer at the time of the decision, rather than with the benefit of hindsight, and that the totality of the circumstances shall account for occasions when officers may be forced to make quick judgments about using force.”
When Edward Samaan drove up to Officer Tonkovich during a traffic stop of an unrelated person, exited from his vehicle in an aggressive manner with a hatchet and immediately and violently charged at Officer Tonkovich, Officer Tonkovich reasonably believed that Edward Samaan was trying to kill him or the subject of the traffic stop, and reasonably believed deadly force was necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or the driver of the vehicle he had stopped. Moreover, evaluating Officer Tonkovich’s actions from the perspective of a reasonable officer in the same situation, based on the totality of the circumstances known to or perceived by the officer at the time of the decision, rather than with the benefit of hindsight, Officer Tonkovich’s action of discharging his duty weapon at a man charging at him and the motorist he had lawfully stopped while armed with a hatchet, a deadly weapon, was not only reasonable, but necessary in order to prevent great bodily harm or death to himself or the motorist he had stopped.
It is indeed a tragedy that previous hospitalizations and treatment efforts were unsuccessful in preventing Edward Samaan from engaging in violent behavior. Given the actions of Edward Samaan on the early morning of June 3, 2022, and Samaan’s act of charging towards Officer Tonkovich with a hatchet in his hand, it was reasonable for Officer Tonkovich to believe Edward Samaan was trying to kill him and/or the motorist he had lawfully stopped, and that deadly force was necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or others. Therefore, based on the results of an incredibly thorough investigation by the MERIT Public Integrity Team, it is the conclusion of my Office that Officer Tonkovich acted lawfully under Illinois Statutes and was justified in using deadly force when he fired his service weapon and shot Edward Samaan.
Officer Tonkovich and all of the responding Naperville Police Officers should be commended for their professionalism during this extremely tense incident. Their concern for the safety and well-being of Edward Samaan after he had been shot is a testament to the excellent training they received from the Naperville Police Department. Our sympathies, condolences and thoughts go out to the family of Edward Samaan as they grieve the loss of a loved one.”
^^ MOBILE? USE VOICE MIC ^^
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