A black teenager is seen being shot dead by a white Chicago police officer as he runs from the man in broad daylight in 2013 surveillance video recently released from the incident.
Video emerged on Thursday of the death of 17-year-old Cedrick Chatman, who was suspected of a carjacking when he was chased down by police on January 7, 2013.
In the video he can be seen sprinting away before he is shot, at which point the unarmed teenager is handcuffed by an officer who also places his boot on the young boy.
Officer Kevin Fry later told investigators he feared for his partner’s life and shot Chatman only after the young man turned and was seen with an object in his hand, which turned out to be an iPhone box.
His family had asked that the video be made public as it sued the city over the shooting, arguing it would counter the city’s narrative that Chatman posed a danger to police.
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Tragedy: Cedrick Chatman (above) was shot dead by white police officers in Chicago on January 7, 2013
Questions: Video of the shooting shows Chatman running away from police in broad daylight (officer on left and Chatman on right)
Claim: The officer says he fired after seeing Chatman turn toward officers with a dark object in his hand, which was an iPhone box (officer firing above)
Questions about the Chatman video follow the November 24 release of another video that made headlines.
That video shows white officer Jason Van Dyke fatally shooting black teenager Laquan McDonald 16 times in 2014. The city fought its release for more than a year, making it public only after a state court ordered it to do so.
The video and the delay in releasing it led to protests, calls for Mayor Rahm Emanuel to resign and a federal civil-rights investigation of the Chicago Police Department.
City attorneys, until Wednesday, fought to keep it under seal on grounds its release could taint any jury pool should the civil case go to trial. They said in a Wednesday court filing that the city was dropping its opposition in an effort to be more transparent while it waits for a recently created special task force to review policies regarding the release of videos showing disputed police shootings.
Steve Patton, Emanuel’s top legal adviser said in a statement that ‘we are working to be as transparent as possible.’
Plea: His family (mother Linda above in August 2014) had asked that the video be made public as it sued the city over the shooting to prove Chatman was not a danger to police
Chatman family lawyer Brian Coffman said he was pleasantly surprised at the change of heart but that he believes Chicago officials knew U.S. District Judge Robert Gettleman was poised to rule against them at Thursday’s previously scheduled hearing.
‘It is a political move to save face,’ Coffman said.
The cameras that caught the incident were at a distance and the footage is of low quality, court filings say. But Chatman family lawyers have said it is clear enough to show the teenager didn’t turn.
Andrew Hale, a lawyer for two officers named as defendants in the lawsuit, said in an email Wednesday that the video will show his clients acted properly. Minutes before the shooting, he said, Chatman refused officers’ orders and jumped out of a car after grabbing the item that turned out to be the box.
‘As he was fleeing, the suspect turned toward the officers, with the dark object in his right hand, causing one officer to open fire,’ Hale’s email said.
The Independent Police Review Authority, which investigates police shootings, cleared the officer who shot Chatman of any wrongdoing. However, court filings allege that the agency cleared the officer only after an investigator who opposed that finding, Lorenzo Davis, was fired.
Davis has filed a separate lawsuit about his dismissal. IPRA has declined to comment on Davis’ case because the litigation is ongoing.