Chicago officials on Thursday released a 2013 video of a city police officer shooting and killing an unarmed black teenager. The city strenuously fought to keep the video of the death of 17-year-old Cedrick Chatman out of the public realm before changing its stance on the eve of a court hearing to determine whether to make them public. The release comes just months after video of police shooting Laquan McDonald was released following a court order.
The video of the Jan. 7, 2013 fatal shooting was captured by four police surveillance cameras. (You can watch three of the videos here, here, and here.) The officer said he fired in self-defense because, he says, Chatman had a dark object in his hand that he believed to be a gun. It turned out to be an iPhone box. Here’s more on that day from the Chicago Tribune:
On a sunny January afternoon in Chicago’s South Shore neighborhood three years ago, two plainclothes police officers pulled up to a silver Dodge Charger that dispatchers said had been taken in a violent carjacking a few blocks away. Suddenly, 17-year-old Cedrick Chatman jumped out of the driver’s seat and ran, with one officer in hot pursuit and the other cutting across 75th Street with his gun drawn. With cars waiting at the light and people strolling down the sidewalk, Officer Kevin Fry took a shooting stance in the middle of the street and unloaded four shots, fatally striking the teen in the side… Fry’s partner, Officer Lou Toth, placed handcuffs on Chatman’s motionless body and stood with a foot on his back, waiting for the paramedics to arrive.
The Independent Police Review Authority investigated the shooting and determined that Fry did not use excessive force. A former investigator for the review authority, Lorenzo Davis, reviewed the case and told the New York Times that the shooting was unnecessary, saying: “He was running away, so why kill him?” Davis recommended Chicago Police Department fire Fry; instead Davis was fired shortly thereafter. Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez also declined to file charges against either Fry or his partner and neither were disciplined.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has faced increased criticism for the city’s handling of police shootings and last weekend city officials announced an independent review of how civil rights suits are handled by the city.