Video of Chicago police fatally shooting a black teen in 2013 was released to the public Thursday afternoon. Cedrick Chatman, 17, was unarmed when he was killed.
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.
“They’ve had had over two and a half years to be transparent on this case,” said Coffman. “I’m pretty sure that you are going to see what actually happened on Jan. 7, 2013.”
The judge originally sided with the city not to release the video so as not to try the case in the court of public opinion, but said Thursday morning that pre-trial coverage of this case was so extensive that the risk of tainting a jury pool would be minimal.
Chatman was shot during a foot chase that followed a carjacking. A high school security camera recorded officers running after the teen in Chicago’s South Shore neighborhood and the subsequent shooting.
Officers said they thought he had a gun and thought he turned toward them. But what they thought was a weapon turned out to be a box for a smart phone.
“What you’re going to come away with is, you’re gonna see a young kid running away from the police in broad daylight and he is shot and killed,” said Coffman.
Smolens and Coffman say the officers did not communicate with each other or with police dispatch before Chatman was shot.
Community activist William Calloway spoke after the hearing as well, reiterating the call for African American clergy members and elected officials to boycott the annual Martin Luther King breakfast hosted by Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
“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.”
Calloway said activists will march on Friday, as well as protest outside the MLK breakfast. There is also a Black Wall Street protest planned outside Chicago’s Board of Trade and Board of Options.
Bishop Larry D. Trotter, of the Sweet Holy Spirit Church of Chicago, urged the public to demonstrate peacefully if the video is released Thursday.