Chicago police release video of fatal 2013 shooting of Cedric Chatman

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Video of Chicago police fatally shooting a black teen on Jan. 7, 2013 was released to the public Thursday afternoon. Cedrick Chatman, 17, was unarmed when he was killed. (WLS)

Video of Chicago police fatally shooting a black teen on Jan. 7, 2013 was released to the public Thursday afternoon. Cedrick Chatman, 17, was unarmed when he was killed.

Three surveillance cameras -- a blue light camera at 75th and Jeffrey, and two surveillance cameras at South Shore High School -- captured the shooting from a distance.

Attorneys Mark Smolens and Brian Coffman, representing the Chatman family, expressed frustration after a hearing Thursday morning that the city abruptly reversed its position Tuesday afternoon on whether to allow the public to see video of that shooting. Three weeks ago, just before the holidays, city attorneys filed a motion to keep the video under wraps.

Chatman was suspected in a carjacking when police shot and killed him during a foot chase. Chatman's family attorneys say Officer Lou Toth was chasing him while Officer Kevin Fry stood back and opened fire.

"From our point of view, it's very clear Mr. Chatman is running as fast as he can," Coffman said at the press conference.

WATCH: Full video from three cameras of Cedrick Chatman's shooting

The attorneys say the videos contradict statements from police that Officer Fry feared for his life when Chatman turned and pointed a dark object at police. That object turned out to be a black iPhone box.

"Office Fry, on the other hand, did not appear to exhaust any method of capturing Chatman other than shooting him and killing him," said Lorenzo Davis, a former Independent Police Review Authority investigator.

When Davis investigated the case he concluded the shooting was not justified and Fry violated police policy. Davis said IPRA administrators asked him to change his findings, which he says he had been asked to do many times before on other cases. His refusal, Davis claims, led to his firing.

"Every time a video comes out, I do feel vindicated that there is more transparency now," he said.

Chatman's attorneys said they're still waiting for transparency. They have fought for the release of the video in the two years since the shooting happened. They said the city's sudden decision to release the tape is for purely political reasons, not legal ones.

"We're still hoping it's a system-wide change in the way police misconduct is treated in the city of Chicago, and that's what this fight is about," Smolens said.

Attorneys admit that releasing the tape does not affect their legal case, and that instead it's all about transparency. The attorney for officers Fry and Toth said his clients stand by their statements that they believe Chatman was armed and turned toward the officers.

Three months after the shooting, State's Attorney Anita Alvarez determined no charges would be filed against the officers.


Mayor Rahm Emanuel tried to leave his only public event Thursday morning without answering questions about the administration decision to release video of the fatal Cedrick Chatman police shooting.

But after reporters followed him to the elevator, he returned to explain the new policy.

"We're in the middle of transition to a different policy as it relates to transparency and letting that material out and the decision is exactly an example of that," he said.

Emanuel said that for decades, the city agreed to seal evidence in police shootings to ensure they are fairly investigated. But State's Attorney Anita Alvarez - herself under fire for delays in such cases - said she cleared the officers involved in the Chatman shooting nearly three years ago.

"We looked at that case back in 2013 and determined that no criminal charges were warranted," Alvarez said.

Emanuel was asked to comment on emails and internal communications suggesting city lawyers saw the video of Laquan McDonald's shooting in November 2014 - months before the mayor claims he became aware of the case.

"The answer to it is that if you're going to get to the bottom of something and get justice, it is exactly with the U.S. Attorney, the FBI and the State's Attorney," Emanuel said.

Pastors representing a coalition of African American clergy reacted to the release of the video of the Chatman shooting during a news conference Thursday.

"Today is another dark day in our city," Bishop James Dukes said.

"The culture of the Chicago Police Department hasn't changed, and we haven't seen any steps to make that into a culture we could like to see," Community Activist William Calloway said.

Although the 2013 shooting was found to be justified by the State's Attorney's Office and the IPRA, the pastors said it was not.

Calloway repeated the call for African American clergy members and elected officials to boycott the annual Martin Luther King breakfast hosted by Emanuel. The pastors called for the end to what they call a code of silence.

"We're here because of Dr. King," Calloway said. "His spirit has to live through us. And until that changes, we're calling on a boycott."

"Our city is in a crisis, this is no time to celebrate or try to memorial Dr. King under these circumstances," Dukes said.

Calloway said activists will march on Friday, as well as protest outside the MLK breakfast. There is also a planned outside Chicago's Board of Trade and Board of Options.

Related Topics:
police shootingchicago police departmentsurveillance videoIllinois
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