Security camera footage of an officer-involved shooting in Chicago has yet to be made public more than two years after police shot and killed a suspect during a chase. But NBC 5 Investigates has learned the city may be closer to releasing the video as it begins to prosecute two men charged with the murder.
Cedrick Chatman, 17, was reportedly with two other individuals during a cell phone deal that turned violent on January 7, 2013. According to court records, Chatman stole a Dodge Charger and was eventually boxed in by police near the intersection of East 75th Street and South Jeffrey.
When Chatman emerged from the vehicle, one of the officers reported seeing him reach for an object before running away. The officers’ deposition revealed Chatman turned his body while running. Fearing for his life, one of the officers fired his weapon and shot Chatman.
However, Chatman was not carrying a weapon. Investigators later found an iPhone 5 case near Chatman’s body.
Linda Chatman said her son was not a bad child and he did not deserve what happened. She filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the City of Chicago and the two police officers involved in the shooting.
"I just want to see justice for my son," Chatman said.
Cameras mounted on a traffic signal, South Shore High School, and a nearby apartment building recorded different angles of the incident. However, the city obtained a protective order withholding the release of the video for the purposes of litigation until the conclusion of the proceedings. The city said in court papers that releasing the video would make a fair trial impossible.
Brian Coffman is representing Linda Chatman in her lawsuit. He argues the police should have let Chatman run away.
"At no time did Mr. Chatman ever pose a threat to the officers," Coffman said. "If it was a justified shooting I think they’d have the videotape released."
The actions of the police officers are still being investigated by Chicago’s Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA).
Both the city and police department declined to comment on the shooting.
However, an expert hired by the city said the officer had reason to believe Chatman was armed because "most carjackings are committed by armed criminals."
According to IPRA data, Chatman is one of 118 people fatally shot by Chicago Police since 2008. None of the shooting investigations closed in the past two years were found to be unjustified.
The two men allegedly with Chatman during the alleged cell phone deal-gone bad, Martel Odum and Akeem Clarke, were charged with his murder. Their criminal case is scheduled to start later this month. Their public defender did not return a request for comment.