The case of Cedrick Chatman is further proof that the Chicago Police Department is rotten to the core, with a climate of abuse and corruption that enables bad officers and rubber stamps their brutality.
Nearly three years after the fact, the city of Chicago has decided to no longer challenge the release of a 2013 video showing the fatal shooting of Chatman, 17, by a police officer, as DNAInfo reports. The teen, as is par for the course, was unarmed, and his family filed a wrongful death lawsuit. In 2014, the city was successfully granted a protective order to avoid the video from being released to the public. According to Steve Patton, the city’s corporation counsel, the decision to vacate the order was made in “an effort to be transparent.”
“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,” Patton said. As recent as December, the city-appointed lawyers representing Officer Kevin Fry—who has not been disciplined—sought to keep the video from the public eye to avoid tainting the jury pool with prejudice. A federal judge is expected to make a decision Thursday.
According to lawyers for Chatman’s family, the video proves the teen was shot four times by police while he ran in the opposite direction. Two plainclothes police officers reportedly made a traffic stop after a report of a stolen car. Akeem Clarke, Chatman’s neighbor, was charged in the killing but was not even on the scene. According to prosecutors, Chatman and two other men were planning to buy cellphone service from a dealer, and an argument ensued. Officers chased Chatman and claimed he turned around and pointed a “black object” he was holding towards them.
“Believing the dark object to be a firearm and being in fear for [his] life, the officer fired at the offender, wounding him,” said Fraternal Order of Police spokesman Pat Camden, according to DNAInfo. Meanwhile, the Independent Police Review Authority in September ruled that Officer Fry was justified in killing Chatman. However, Lorenzo Davis, a former IPRA supervising investigator who had been a cop for two decades, insists Chatman was running for his life and never turned around to face the officers. The video “shows a shooting that should not have occurred,” Davis told CNN. “In my point of view, if you do not have to kill a person, then why would you?”
“If Officer Fry believed his life was in danger, then his fear was unreasonable,” added Davis, who trained officers on the use of deadly force at the Chicago police academy. “[He] should not have taken this young man’s life.”
Moreover, Davis was fired from the IPRA for failing to succumb to pressure from superiors and refusing to clear six officers — including Fry in the Chatman killing — who were under investigation.
“They told me to change it,” Davis told the Washington Times. “Change it. And if I did not change it, I was insubordinate and I would be disciplined.”
Fry had 30 complaints against him during his career, according to CNN, including 10 claims of excessive force. Each time, the officer was cleared of wrongdoing, including a 2007 case when Fry and his partner shot a 16-year-old Black boy in a school. The officers claimed the young man had a weapon which turned out to be a “shiny belt buckle.” The IPRA found the shooting was justified, and the city of Chicago settled with the boy and his family for $99,000.
Meanwhile, as the family of Cedrick Chatman seeks justice, CNN reports an unexpected backstory in the aftermath of the killing: A friend of Chatman and an additional acquaintance were charged with his murder. And they were not at the scene when Fry killed the boy.
Last month, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced a civil rights probe into the patterns and practices of the Chicago Police Department. And the evidence of a City Hall coverup in the death of Laquan McDonald, 17, at the hands of police has led to mounting calls for Mayor Rahm Emanuel to resign. And as WLS has reported, 50 to 60 Chicago ministers say they will boycott Emanuel’s interfaith breakfast for the Martin Luther King holiday.
Something is rotten in Chitown. Believe it.