What Happened To Cedrick Chatman? The Chicago Police Department Is Facing New Backlash Over The 2013 Incident
Chicago's police department could see even more backlash with the release of a new police shooting video. As the city continues to heal after the release of videos showing officers shooting and killing Laquan McDonald and Ronald Johnson, a third video showing the shooting of 17-year-old Cedrick Chatman could spark new outrage, DNAinfo Chicago reports. Like in McDonald and Johnson's cases, attorneys representing Chatman's family allege that the teen was unarmed and running away when officers opened fire, which the police department contradicts with its side of the story. But what exactly happened to Cedrick Chatman when he was shot and killed, almost three years ago to the day?
According to Brian Coffman, the Chatman family's attorney, video footage of the shooting shows a clear picture of what happened, despite the police's contradictory version of events. The police's official version of events is that Chatman ran from the officers with a dark object in his hand, and at some point he turned and pointed it at the cops, which is when they opened fire. However, Coffman argues that three surveillance videos captured a different series of events and has been urging the city to release the footage to the public.
Last month, U.S. District Judge Robert Gettleman said that he would likely order the video to be released in January as part of pretrial motions. Before the public sees what the cameras captured, here's a breakdown of what happened the night of Jan. 7, 2013, according to prosecutors.
Chatman and two other men, Akeem Clarke, 22, and Martel Odom, 23, entered a fourth man's van around 1:30 p.m. with the intention to buy cellphone service from him, prosecutors say. According to court documents, after a disagreement, the three buyers robbed the man of $400 and Chatman drove off with his vehicle.
Chicago officers Kevin Fry and Lou Toth, who were both in plain clothes, then spotted the stolen van and pulled up to it. They approached the vehicle with their guns drawn. This is where the story splits into multiple versions. According to Coffman, who has reviewed the surveillance footage, Chatman is seen running from the cops without turning towards them. He told DNAinfo:
You see him running away from the officers as fast as he possibly could — he never even begins to turn. Fry never says anything. He just gets out of the car, watches him run with his gun trained on him, and fires.
Coffman has also called the police's handling of the shooting "a giant scam." In 2013, he filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the department on behalf of Chatman's family. The police department denies these claims.
According to court records, the Chatman's lawsuit is the fifth civil rights suit since 2006 to name Fry as a defendant.