Update, January 15, 9:00 a.m ET:
A federal judge allowed the release of video footage showing the shooting death of Cedrick Chatman at the hands of a Chicago police officer. However, the video isn’t clear enough to answer exactly what happened when the teen was killed. Take a look at the clip in its entirety above.
A federal judge will likely decide today, January 14, whether or not to permit the release of a video showing police shooting 17-year-old Cedrick Chatman in January 2013. The teen was accused of driving a car that had been reported carjacked and was stopped by an officer named Kevin Fry, who ordered him out of the car at gunpoint. Witnesses say the officer repeatedly shot Chatman as he ran away. Fry says he thought the young man was holding a weapon and feared for his own life, but it was later discovered that Chatman was holding an iPhone box.
Initially, the city stuck to its longstanding policy of keeping police videos private. In this case, they didn’t want the footage to go public until the victim’s mother, Linda, completed her wrongful death suit, reports the New York Times.
However, mounting pressure on Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and the Black community’s severe lack of confidence in the police department—which reached a fever pitch in November after the city reluctantly released graphic video of Laquan McDonald being shot by officers 16 times—forced officials to reconsider their position on the matter. Stephen R. Patton, the head of Chicago’s Law Department, told the NYT:
With respect to the release of videos of police incidents, the City of Chicago is working to find the right balance between the public’s interest in disclosure and the importance of protecting the integrity of investigations and the judicial process. In this case, the city sought a protective order consistent with its decades-long policy. We recognize the policy needs to be updated, and while we await guidance from the Task Force on Police Accountability, we are working to be as transparent as possible.
If the federal judge in this case decides the videos can be released during today’s hearing, it’s possible they will be made public right away. On Wednesday, January 13, the city announced they were dropping their request to keep private the videos showing Chatman’s death and won’t push back if the judge decides to release the evidence.
At this point, Officer Fry and his partner, Lou Toth, remain on active duty and haven’t been charged with any wrongdoing.