3 Videos Show Police Fatally Shooting Cedrick Chatman As He Ran Away
By Kate Shepherd in News on Jan 14, 2016 9:33PM
Updated 3:30 p.m.: Three videos depicting aspects of a fatal shooting by Chicago police were released to the public Thursday afternoon.
On Thursday, a federal judge ordered the release of the January 2013 footage of Officer Kevin Fry fatally shooting Cedrick Chatman, according to the Tribune.
The judge criticized the City of Chicago for abruptly reversing its opposition to sharing the video.
"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," U.S. District Judge Robert Gettleman told the Tribune. "I think it's irresponsible."
The videos, below, are grainy and have no audio. In the second video, Chatman can be faintly seen running away from police and falling to the ground, shot, about 25 seconds in. The other videos are filmed with a surveillance camera that rotated automatically every few seconds.
The videos show Chatman being shot under a red awning with two police officers pursuing him. In the footage from an automated blue light camera and South Shore High School, it does appear that he was running away from the officers while he was fatally shot by Fry .
According to the family's attorneys, the videos of Chatman's shooting contradict statements from law enforcement that the 17-year-old turned and pointed a dark object at police as he ran from police, prompting the officer to fire in fear of his life. The object in question was a black iPhone box.
Andrew Hale, Fry's lawyer, says the videos back up the police's account of what happened.
The footage from a police surveillance camera, as well as cameras outside a convenience store and near South Shore High School, will likely be released by city lawyers this afternoon. But the videos are reportedly low-quality and show the shooting from a distance.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel's administration has opposed the release for months but recently changed its mind, citing the work of the Task Force on Police Accountability.
Community activists and leaders also were threatening to boycott the mayor's Martin Luther King Jr. breakfast on Friday if he refused to release the video.
"The mayor's only play at this point is to concede," Brian Coffman, the lawyer representing Chatman's family in a wrongful-death lawsuit told the Tribune.
Chatman was shot on Jan. 7, 2013 near 75th Street and Jeffery Boulevard, according to court records. Fry and his partner, Officer Lou Toth, were responding to a report of a carjacking when they stopped the car Chatman was driving because it matched the description of a stolen car.
As two plainclothes officers approached, Chatman ran south on Jeffery with one of the officers trailing close behind, according to police.
The second officer, identified as Fry in the lawsuit, ran diagonally to try to cut off Chatman's path, police said. Chatman "pointed a dark object back toward the officers as he continued to run" at some point, according to the Independent Police Review Authority.
Fearing for his life, Fry fired four shots. They struck Chatman once each in the right side of his body and right forearm, according to IPRA report. The Tribune reported that IPRA deemed the officer's actions justified because authorities believed that the iPhone box was stolen by Chatman in the carjacking. But a fired former IPRA supervisor, Lorenzo Davis, is claimed in a federal lawsuit filed last year that he was fired because he determined that Chatman's case did not justify the use of lethal force while working for IPRA.
"Cedrick was just running as the shots were fired," Davis told the Tribune. "You're taught that deadly force is a last resort and that you should do everything in your power to apprehend the person before you use deadly force.
"I did not see where deadly force was called for at that time."