Judge Orders Release of 2013 Chicago Police Shooting Video
The city had resisted releasing the police shooting video of Cedrick Chatman for months.
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CHICAGO — A federal judge on Thursday ordered the public release of video footage that shows the 2013 fatal shooting by Chicago police of an unarmed 17-year-old African-American man.
The move by U.S. District Judge Robert Gettleman comes the day after attorneys for the city, who had vigorously fought for months to keep the footage private, dropped their objection to the video’s release.
The decision on the video, which is evidence in a wrongful death lawsuit filed against the city and two police officers for the 2013 death of Cedrick Chatman, comes as the Chicago Police Department and Mayor Rahm Emanuel are facing mounting criticism over the use of force by the city’s police.
The city has been embroiled in weeks of protests following the court-ordered release of police video in November that showed the 2014 shooting death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. Officer Jason Van Dyke was charged with first-degree murder on the same day of the video’s release, 400 days after the incident.
After the McDonald video’s release, Emanuel said the city would strive for greater transparency as it tried to balance the public’s interest in disclosure with the importance of protecting the integrity of investigations.
The mayor’s words not-withstanding, the city continued to fight to keep the Chatman video private, even filing a motion only three weeks ago that argued release of the video could taint a potential jury in the wrongful death suit.
Gettleman criticized for the city’s belated “enlightenment” on the issue.
“I’m very disturbed about the way this has happened,” Gettleman said.
Steve Patton, the city’s chief attorney, said that the city is working to update its disclosure policies and that the Emanuel administration is “working to be as transparent as possible.”
City officials said the video footage from three cameras, including a police camera, would likely be released later Thursday.
In this latest case, officer Kevin Fry said he shot Chatman after the teen ran from a stolen vehicle holding what he mistakenly thought was a gun.
Fry’s partner, officer Lou Toth, was chasing Chatman, but Fry said in his deposition that he opened fire after seeing the teen turn slightly toward them. Fry in his deposition said he feared for his and his partner’s lives as well as the safety of pedestrians in the area.
He shot four times, striking Chatman twice. The teen was holding a black iPhone box.
In the hearing, Gettleman, who has already viewed the video, said that it appeared to show that Toth was on Chatman’s heels as he pursued him and near the line of fire.
Brian Coffman, co-counsel for the slain teen’s mother, Linda Chatman, said that the video will show that the teen was “running away as fast as he can” from police. Coffman added that the video will also show Toth handcuffing and stepping on the teen as he lay bleeding on the street.
The attorney said he was surprised by the Emanuel administration’s about-face, which came after months of vigorous argument from city attorneys to keep the footage out of the public eye until the end of the trial.
“At this point, he knows he had no other play, if he really wants to stand by his vow to improve transparency,” Coffman said of the mayor.
There’s more to this story on rt.com, including that the investigator who determined that the shooting was unjustified, was terminated from his position.
Surveillance camera footage (5:36 mark in the video) shows Chatman bolting from the car, and one of the plainclothes officers pointing a gun and firing in his direction. When the camera pans over to the other corner, Chatman is lying motionless the ground.