After months of struggles with Chicago police to get information through the Freedom of Information Act, the Tribune has compiled a detailed database of every time police fired a weapon from 2010 through 2015.
The protests around the most recent cases of young black people slain by Chicago police, Laquan McDonald, Rekia Boyd and Ronald Johnson, accentuate a period of political upheaval in the country’s third-largest city. Activists are demanding racial and economic justice, along with a full reconstruction of justice system some say has been “designed to fail.”
For the third time in two months, the city of Chicago has been compelled to release footage of police fatally shooting a black teenager or young man.
The city’s law department fought for three years to keep the video from the public.
The city’s law department on Thursday released three videos of the 2013 shooting of unarmed 17-year-old Cedrick Chatman. A federal judge ruled earlier that day that the videos had to be made public, ending a three-year battle between the city and Chatman’s family.
The low-quality video shows the teen running away as a plainclothes officer fires his weapon.
At the time of the shooting, official police accounts claimed that Chatman was armed and pointed a gun at police, causing at least one of the two pursuing officers to “fear for his life.”
Chatman was later found to be unarmed and holding a black iPhone box.
Chicago officials fought to keep the video under protective order, arguing that it would inflame the public and unfairly sway the jury in a trial over the family’s wrongful death lawsuit.
Chatman’s family was not immediately available for comment Thursday, but they are moving forward with a wrongful death lawsuit against the city and against Officer Kevin Fry, who shot the teen.
Neither Fry nor his partner at the scene, Officer Lou Toth, were disciplined. Chicago’s Independent Police Review Authority, a city agency tasked with investigating and disciplining police complaints, cleared the officers of wrongdoing, as it nearly always does.
“Officials fought to keep the video under protective order, arguing that it would inflame the public..” I think this one phrase says it all about how corrupt our criminal justice system is. But releasing videos like this is the ONLY way to clear the air. Police withheld the evidence, which saved them from the trial and pretty much just helped them avoid any kind of punishment. However, they deserve it - they deserve to at LEAST get fired, let alone the cop who actually shot Cedrick. He should consider prison his home.