On Thursday, videos of the fatal police shooting of Cedrick Chatman, a black teenager, by a white Chicago police officer in January 2013 were released. Police had said that Chatman pointed a dark object at police as he ran away, the Chicago Tribune reports. The object, it turned out, was a black iPhone box.
In the video above, Chatman, 17, a suspect in a carjacking, is seen running, in the top part of the frame, at about :25. He is being chased by Office Lou Toth. “Officer [Kevin] Fry, on the other hand, did not appear to exhaust any method of capturing Chatman other than shooting him and killing him,” Lorenzo Davis, a former IPRA investigator, told ABC 7 Chicago.
The city had argued for months that releasing the three videos—obtained from a police surveillance camera and cameras outside a convenience store—would incite unrest and make it harder for the Chatman family’s lawsuit to get a fair trial. However, the Tribune reports:
In a surprise court filing Wednesday [...] the city dropped its opposition, citing the ongoing work of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Task Force on Police Accountability, which is expected to issue recommendations in March on the city’s long-standing policy of keeping police shooting videos from the public.
Before [U.S. District Judge Robert Gettleman] ruled on the motion Thursday, Jonathan Green, an assistant corporation counsel, told the judge the city is being forced to adapt to “a new world” in which new technologies and the public demand for information on police shootings have taken precedence over the city’s long-standing policy to keep evidence in pending cases under wraps.
“I went to a lot of trouble to decide this issue, and then I get this motion last night saying that this is the Age of Enlightenment with the city and we’re going to be transparent,” Gettleman said Thursday. “I think it’s irresponsible.”
Unlike the dash-cam footage of the Laquan McDonald shooting, these videos are low quality, and the shooting is in the distance. Still, “From our point of view, it’s very clear Mr. Chatman is running as fast as he can,” Brian Coffman, one of the Chatman family’s attorneys, said. “Running away.”