Judge says Chicago police shooting video can be released

By Mary Wisniewski
Reuters

CHICAGO – A federal judge ruled on Thursday that video footage of a fatal Chicago police shooting of a black teenager in 2013 can be released as protesters renewed criticism of Mayor Rahm Emanuel for the handling of police killings.

Images from neighborhood surveillance cameras showing the killing of Cedrick Chatman, 17, in January 2013 had been sealed under a protective order.

One video, shown on the DNAinfo.Chicago website before the city’s official release, shows two officers chasing Chatman, Chatman running around a corner, one officer drawing his gun, and then Chatman on the ground, all within 10 seconds.

The decision to release the videos comes with Emanuel and the police department already under pressure in the 2014 fatal police shooting of another teenager. The video of that killing was not released until last November.

U.S. District Judge Robert Gettleman said at a hearing on Thursday that releasing the Chatman videos would not interfere with finding impartial jurors for a civil suit by the teenager’s family.

The city’s lawyers said they would distribute the video later on Thursday.

Protesters at Thursday’s hearing called for Emanuel to take more action to reform the police department. For weeks protesters have been demanding he step down over his handling of the 2014 police killing of Laquan McDonald, 17. Activists also want State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, who blocked release of the McDonald video for a year, to resign.

Black pastors and community leaders said they would boycott Emanuel’s annual Martin Luther King prayer breakfast on Friday to protest the city’s handling of police shootings.

Lawyers for Chatman’s mother, who is suing the city over her son’s death, say the videos contradict police statements that Chatman, a carjacking suspect, had pointed a dark object at them.

An attorney for the police officers said the videos will support their story.

Also on Thursday, the Cook County Medical Examiner released autopsy reports in the Dec. 26 police shooting of black college student Quintonio LeGrier, 19, and his neighbor Bettie Jones, 55.

The reports showed LeGrier was shot six times, including once in the chest and twice in the back. Jones, who police say was shot by accident, was hit once in the chest.

Emanuel fired his police chief in December and is seeking a new superintendent for the 12,000-strong force, which has a history of complaints of abuse.

The Justice Department is investigating Chicago police use of lethal force.

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